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Pseudowire definition

Pseudowire (PW) is a telecommunications and networking mechanism that emulates a point-to-point, or a circuit, connection over a packet-switched network (PSN). In other words, it creates a virtual tunnel that simulates a traditional network connection, like a telephone line or a leased line, over a modern infrastructure like MPLS, IP, or Ethernet. This helps bridge the gap between two connection types, transporting various types of traffic, including voice, data, and video, over a packet-switched network.

Pseudowires are an essential technological development in networking, bridging the gap between traditional, circuit-switched communications services and modern, packet-switched networks. This innovation has been crucial in enabling the smooth transition of services and ensuring compatibility and service quality in the evolving landscape of network technology.

See also: pseudocode, pseudonymization

How pseudowire works

Pseudowires involve encapsulating the data from a circuit-switched network to transmit it over a packet-switched network. This encapsulation includes information allowing the network to identify and treat this data as if traveling on a dedicated circuit. Even though the data is technically being transferred via a shared, packet-switched network, how it's handled and transported preserves the characteristics of a circuit-switched network, like consistent order and quality of service.

This technique allows network providers to offer traditional, circuit-based services over modern, packet-based infrastructures without compromising on the quality and reliability that those services require. It's a crucial technology for transitioning from older telecommunications systems to newer, more efficient networks.