A communication method and packet switching system in which packets comprising logical addresses and voice/data information are communicated through the system by packet switching networks which are interconnected by high-speed digital trunks with each of the latter being directly terminated on both ends by trunk controllers. During initial call setup of a particular call, central processors associated with each network in the desired route store the necessary logical to physical address information in the controllers which perform all logical to physical address translations on packets of the call. Each network comprises stages of switching nodes which are responsive to the physical address associated with a packet by a controller to communicate this packet to a designated subsequent node. The nodes provide for variable packet buffering, packet address rotation techniques, and intranode and internode signaling protocols. Each packet has a field which is automatically updated by the controllers for accumulating the total time delay incurred by the packet in progressing through the networks. Each processor has the capability of doing fault detection and isolation on the associated network, trunks, and controllers by the transmission of a single test packet. The testing is done solely in response to the test packet and no preconditioning of controllers or networks is necessary.