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Quick Tech Tip: Concatenated Virtual Circuits

Two styles of internetworking are common:

* a connection-oriented concatenation of virtual circuit subnets,
* a datagram internet style.

In the concatenated virtual circuit model, a connection to a host in a distant network is set up in a way similar to the way connections are normally established. The virtual circuit consists of concatenated virtual circuits between the routers or gateways along the way from the source node to the destination node. Each gateway maintains tables telling which virtual circuits pass through it, where they are to be routed, and what the new virtual circuit number is. This process continues until the destination host has been reached.

Concatenated Virtual Circuits

Once data packets begin flowing along the path, each gateway relays incoming packets, converting between packet formats and virtual circuit numbers as needed. Clearly, all data packets must traverse the same sequence of gateways , and thus arrive in order.
This scheme works best when all the networks have roughly the same properties.
Concatenated virtual circuits are also common in the transport layer. In particular, it is possible to build a bit pipe using OSI, which terminates in a gateway, and have a TCP connection go from the gateway to the next gateway. In this manner, an end-to-end virtual circuit can be built spanning different networks and protocols.

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