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virtual circuit
Last modified: Tuesday, May 19, 1998 

A connection between two devices that acts as though it's a direct connection even though it may physically be circuitous. The term is used most frequently to describe connections between two hosts in a packet-switching network. In this case, the two hosts can communicate as though they have a dedicated connection even though the packets might actually travel very different routes before arriving at their destination. An X.25 connection is an example of a virtual circuit.

Virtual circuits can be either permanent (called PVCs) or temporary (called SVCs).

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