This paper is concerned with a comparison study of three switching techniques used in computer-based communication networks: circuit switching, message (packet) switching, and cut-through switching. Our comparison is based on the delay performance asobtained through analytic models of these techniques. For circuit switching, the model reflects the phenomenon of channel reservation which it can be shown that when circuit switching is used, data communication networks saturate rapidly. Through numerical examples, it is shown that the boundary between the areas of relative effectiveness of these switching techniques depends very much on the network topology (more precisely the path length of communication), the message length, and the useful utilization. Copyright © 1980 by The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, Inc.