Switch Network

To start the signalling process, host A sends a setup message into the network—that is, to switch 1. The setup message contains, among other things, the complete destination address of host B. The setup message needs to get all the way to B to create the necessary connection state in every switch along the way. We can see that getting the setup message to B is a lot like getting a datagram to B, in that the switches have to know which output to send the setup message to so that it eventually reaches B. For now, let’s just assume that the switches know enough about the network topology to figure out how to do that, so that the setup message flows on to switches 2 and 3 before finally reaching host B.

Find more: Switch networks

When switch 1 receives the connection request, in addition to sending it on to switch 2, it creates a new entry in its virtual circuit table for this new connection. This entry is exactly the same as shown previously in Table 6. The main difference is that now the task of assigning an unused VCI value on the interface is performed by the switch for that port. In this example, the switch picks the value 5. The virtual circuit table now has the following information: “When packets arrive on port 2 with identifier 5, send them out on port 1.” Another issue is that, somehow, host A will need to learn that it should put the VCI value of 5 in packets that it wants to send to B; we will see how that happens below.

When switch 2 receives the setup message, it performs a similar process; in this example, it picks the value 11 as the incoming VCI value. Similarly, switch 3 picks 7 as the value for its incoming VCI. Each switch can pick any number it likes, as long as that number is not currently in use for some other connection on that port of that switch. As noted above, VCIs have link-local scope; that is, they have no global significance.

Finally, the setup message arrives as host B. Assuming that B is healthy and willing to accept a connection from host A, it too allocates an incoming VCI value, in this case 4. This VCI value can be used by B to identify all packets coming from host A.

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