An initial setup phase is used to set up a route between the intermediate nodes for all the packets passed during the session between the two end nodes. In each intermediate node, an entry is registered in a table to indicate the route for the connection that has been set up. Thus, packets passed through this route, can have short headers, containing only a virtual circuit identifier (VCI), and not their destination. Each intermediate node passes the packets according to the information that was stored in it, in the setup phase. In this way, packets arrive at the destination in the correct sequence, and it is guaranteed that essentially there will not be errors. This approach is slower than Circuit Switching, since different virtual circuits may compete over the same resources, and an initial setup phase is needed to initiate the circuit. As in Circuit Switching, if an intermediate node fails, all virtual circuits that pass through it are lost. The most common forms of Virtual Circuit networks are X.25 and Frame Relay, which are commonly used for public data networks (PDN).
Virtual circuit packet switching techniques