VirtualWire™ technology uses a software approach to configure cable topologies to interconnect network devices together. Network devices are physically connected to the VirtualWire™ switch once using Ethernet cables and transceivers that match the device port media and speed characteristics. The desired cable topology is then obtained by a remote software configuration of the Virtual Wire switch and consists of a set of Virtual Wire links. VirtualWire topology configurations can be dynamically created, saved and re-applied without any manual intervention on the physical infrastructure.
VirtualWire is implemented using transparent low-latency Ethernet forwarding between physical ports over a non-blocking any-port to any-port switching architecture. VirtualWire transparently cross bridges any standard or proprietary Ethernet protocol of any size, including these types of traffic:
- IPv6, Q-in-Q, VN-TAG
- Ethernet control plane traffic such as BPDU, LACP and LLDP protocol packets
- Proprietary or experimental Ethernet fabric
- Undersized or invalid frames
Network devices interconnected through a VirtualWire link behave as if the devices are directly connected with a single physical cable. For example, as shown in Figure 1, if the port of Device A goes down, the VirtualWire switch automatically shuts down the port facing Device B.
Figure 1 - Virtual Wire Topology
In addition, a VirtualWire switch can act as an intelligent media converter, enabling Ethernet communication between devices with different port speed and media type. In the example shown in Figure 2, a VirtualWire link is created between an optical cable connecting device A and a copper cable on device B.
Figure 2 - Virtual Wire Topology with Optical and Copper Cables