Networking • Last Updated 5/15/2024

What is a virtual cross connect (VXC)?

Virtual Cross Connects are private, direct connections between cloud providers.


By Emily Bowen

Green Telnyx logo on black background

Remember when the internet was just taking off? We all depended on the public internet to connect with each other because setting up direct private connections between networks was challenging. But as cloud providers and cloud services began to rise meteorically, the very infrastructure of the internet started to evolve. Large hosting services like AWS, Azure, and IBM Cloud began handling such massive amounts of data that relying on multiple ISPs as middlemen became inefficient.

Enter virtual cross connects (VXCs), the solutions big players have adopted. Instead of the old ways—back when data traveled through various internet service providers (ISPs), which was less efficient and secure than the direct connections now used by major hosting services—they've built direct infrastructure, connecting their services to each other and to carriers without the need for the public internet. It's like creating shortcuts for data, ensuring speed and security.

If you want to understand how this shift impacts our digital world and why it's making waves in the tech industry, stick around as we explore VXCs and their transformative role in internet connectivity.

What are virtual cross connects?

Virtual cross connects (VXCs) are private direct connections between a network and a cloud provider, content delivery network, or a carrier through an internet exchange point (IXP).

For example, through our connectivity partners, Telnyx maintains redundant 10GB fiber connections with all major cloud providers in multiple geographic locations. Enterprise networks and service providers leverage these virtual connections because they act like a physical connection. They’re faster, more secure, and delivered with lower latency than connections over the public internet.

What’s the difference between physical and virtual cross connects?

VXCs and physical cross connects serve the same fundamental purpose: connecting networks. However, their methods differ significantly. Physical cross connects involve tangible connections—usually through cables—between two networks. VXCs, on the other hand, establish these connections virtually without the need for physical infrastructure.

This virtual approach offers several advantages:

  • Speed: VXCs can be set up more quickly than their physical counterparts.
  • Flexibility: Virtual connections can be easily modified or rerouted as needed.
  • Scalability: As businesses grow, VXCs can be effortlessly scaled to accommodate increased traffic.

Now that you have a general idea of what a VXC is, it’s time to explore how VXCs function and the technology behind their efficiency.

How do virtual cross connects work?

At its core, a VXC provides a secure bridge between two networks located in different physical locations. But how does it achieve this connection without cables or hardware?

VXCs employ a network of virtual routers, switches, and firewalls to bridge two distinct networks securely. These connections use established protocols to ensure a secure and reliable connection between networks in different locations. Once the virtual link is established, data and services are securely transmitted across this bridge, ensuring speed and security.

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With VXCs, businesses can ensure optimal proximity, ensuring faster and more reliable digital transactions. And with the digital economy's rapid pace, latency has become a critical factor. The closer a company's servers are to the end user, the lower the latency.

Real-world VCX applications and scenarios

The practical applications of VXCs are vast and varied. Consider the example of a ride-hailing service with the following process:

  1. A user requests a ride via an app.
  2. The app authenticates the user and uses GPS to determine their location and destination.
  3. The app calculates the fare and waits for user confirmation.
  4. Once confirmed, the app guides the driver to the user's location.

Throughout this process, the user's request might traverse multiple networks before reaching the ride-hailing company's server—all within milliseconds. The proximity of the company’s servers to the user and driver determines the latency. If responses are delayed, users might opt for a different service. VXCs ensure such digital services, whether in finance, gaming, or advertising, are delivered promptly and reliably.

Scaling with virtual cross connects

As businesses expand, so does their need for robust and reliable connectivity. VXCs play a pivotal role in this scaling process. Unlike physical cross connects, which might require extensive infrastructure changes to scale, VXCs offer a more agile solution. They allow businesses to:

  • Link multiple facilities: VXCs can connect multiple data centers seamlessly, ensuring consistent and reliable data exchange.
  • Extend reach: By being part of a larger data center ecosystem, businesses can deploy virtual connections to hundreds of locations and expand their reach without significant infrastructure investments. \

As the demands of businesses grow and the complexities of data exchange intensify, traditional connectivity methods have become bottlenecks. VXCs are a modern-day solution that bridges the gap between the need for expansion and the challenges of infrastructure. By enabling businesses to link multiple facilities effortlessly and extend their reach across vast ecosystems, VXCs are redefining what it means to scale in the digital age.

Key benefits and performance improvements with virtual cross connects

VXCs offer many benefits, from allowing businesses to combine multiple networks for enhanced data transmission speed and capacity to facilitating the creation of private networks between sites for secure data transit.

The inherent virtual nature of VXCs means there's no need for physical hardware or cables, streamlining setup and maintenance. As businesses grow and evolve, VXCs provide the flexibility to swiftly expand networks to cater to more users, devices, or services—all while minimizing the costs and complexities traditionally associated with network setups.

Moreover, the performance enhancements with VXCs are undeniable. They segment connectivity over existing fiber lines, effectively mimicking the attributes of a direct private line. This direct traffic routing ensures faster delivery speeds and reduces call degradation as call media traverses shorter physical distances.

One of the standout features of VXCs is the enhanced security. As data travels either on private networks or through VXCs, it remains shielded from potential threats, ensuring communications—be it calls, conferences, or other data—are of the highest quality.

All these advantages come at a fraction of the cost of traditional ISPs, and the speed of setting up these connections is unparalleled.

Harnessing the power of virtual cross connects with Telnyx

Gone are the days when businesses relied solely on the public internet for connections. Today, the very foundation of the internet is undergoing a transformation. Leading this change are VXCs, which offer direct, fast, and secure data transmission, bypassing the need for multiple ISPs as intermediaries.

Telnyx, with its deep-rooted expertise in VXCs, is at the forefront of this digital revolution. Our telephony service, underpinned by our physical fiber backbone, cloud infrastructures, and virtual cross connects, ensures optimal traffic routing. Many of our customers leverage VXCs to establish direct lines into the Telnyx environment, benefiting from our routing tables and exchanging traffic over dedicated links.

A prime example is our capability to set up virtual cross connects for a customers hosting PBX on AWS servers. Such a connection ensures that calls from customer numbers get forwarded directly, minimizing reliance on the public internet and reducing issues like jitter, latency, and packet loss.

Our global network, with its geographically distributed points of presence, offers flexibility in connection setups to provide you with the best connections. We continually monitor performance to ensure the fastest routes between endpoints. And for those seeking custom solutions, our Anchorsite™ feature allows customers to choose which Telnyx point of presence anchors their call media.

In an age where speed, security, and efficiency are paramount, businesses can't afford to miss out on the advantages of VXCs. With Telnyx as your partner, you won’t just keeping pace with the digital transformation. You’ll lead it.

Don't let your business get left behind. Talk to a Telnyx expert to harness the power of Virtual Cross Connects and propel your connectivity into the future.

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