switched virtual circuit (SVC)

Definition of switched virtual circuit (SVC) in The Network Encyclopedia.

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What is switched virtual circuit (SVC)?

A form of telecommunications service that provides a path between two nodes in a packet-switched network. The path is set up and configured at the beginning of a session and is dismantled at the end. Each new session requires a switching path to be established, and this path differs during each session depending on the available switches.

A switched virtual circuit (SVC) provides a temporary, point-to-point connection between the two nodes. SVCs offer the advantage of bandwidth on demand but suffer from some latency in establishing a connection. They are cheaper than permanent virtual circuits (PVCs) because they use whatever telco resources are available at a given time; after the session, these resources are released for other purposes. Because the actual switching path varies with each session, SVCs also suffer from inconsistent connection quality.


SVCs are best used for WAN links that have low or irregular network traffic.