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Virtual channel identifier

(also VCI)

Virtual channel identifier definition

A virtual channel identifier is a unique number used in data networks to differentiate and route data streams. VCIs are super important in keeping networks running smoothly because they allow different data (e.g., voice calls or email services) to share the same network without getting mixed up.

VCIs are most commonly associated with Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) networks, which are fast and efficient. However, they also play an important role in advanced technologies like quantum computing and communications.

See also: data transmission

How are VCIs used in networking?

  • Every communication channel (e.g., voice calls, web browsing, or file transfers) in a network is assigned a different VCI.
  • When data is sent over the network, it gets the appropriate VCI label.
  • When data arrives at its destination, the VCI helps the network equipment know which data stream it belongs to.
  • VCIs can also be used to find and fix errors in the data during transmission.

VCI benefits

  • Virtual channel identifiers make it possible for multiple channels to share the same network without issues.
  • They help manage and prioritize data traffic and ensure that important data gets through quickly.
  • VCIs keep data organized and don’t let data get mixed up.
  • They help make the network work smoothly by reducing delays and congestion.
  • VCIs can find and fix data errors helping keep information accurate.
  • VCIs simplify network management.
  • With VCIs, networks can grow without needing big changes to the infrastructure.