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Virtual networking

Virtual networking definition

Virtual networking is a technology that makes it possible to create virtual versions of physical computer networks. Instead of physical routers, cables, and switches, virtual networking uses software solutions. Having several virtual networks on one physical device makes it more efficient and means the company doesn’t need additional hardware resources.

See also: application virtualization

How virtual networking works

  • Virtual networks create additional digital connections within your device or network (like adding extra phone lines to a building).
  • Virtual networks can be isolated from each other. If set up this way, data in one virtual network stays within the network and can't accidentally cross over to others.
  • Special software (called a virtual networking stack) manages virtual networks, e.g., directs data traffic and ensures it reaches its destination.
  • Once data traffic enters the virtual network, the virtual networking stack decides where it should go.

Examples of virtual network uses

  • Virtual networking lets companies create virtual machines (VMs) that share one computer's power but have separate networks.
  • Virtual networking can be used to split your network into separate parts, which may make things safer and more organized.
  • Cloud companies use virtual networking to give you your own private space in their shared computer systems.
  • Virtual networking allows users to create a safe place to test new features.