We propose to compare the hardware cost of OTN switching and IP switching to obtain the ballpark adaptation range for the two switching mode. By abstracting the switching behavior of OTN switching equipment and IP router, we present a detailed study on the hardware cost in the case of ensuring connectivity. A unified network-level connection model is established based on CLOS switching network, and then we compare hardware costs for IP switching and OTN switching. The hardware cost of the two switching mode in different L1 switching granularity and different port rate cases is simulated. Simulation results show that OTN switching has lower hardware cost than IP switching when average bandwidth for traffic demand excess 250Mbps in the cases of ODU<sub>0</sub> switching granularity.