Packet switching is a switching technique in which packets (discrete blocks of data of fixed size and of any content, type or structure) are routed between nodes over data links shared with other traffic. The term “packets” refers to the fact that the data stream from your computer is broken up into packets of about 200 bytes (on average), which are then sent out onto the network. Each packet contains a “header” with information necessary for routing the packet from source to destination. Each packet in a data stream is independent. The main advantage of packet-switching is that the packets from many different sources can share a line, allowing for very efficient use of the communication medium. With current technology, packets are generally accepted onto the network on a first-come, first-served basis. If the network becomes overloaded, packets are delayed or discarded (“dropped”). This method of data transmission became the fundamental networking technology behind the internet and most Local Area Networks.