1. (VC) A connection or a path through an ATM network. The word "virtual" indicates that the connection is logical rather than physical.
Nothing to do with a virtual circuit on a packet switching network.
[Fred Halsall, "Data Communications, Computer Networks and Open Systems", 1996, Addison Wesley].
2. A communications link that appears to be a direct connection between sender and receiver, although physically the link can be routed through a more circuitous path, running over virtual circuits instead of a private network built primarily with dedicated lines.
A virtual connection can provide full-time connection among many sites, including those configured for SNA/SDLC protocol. A virtual connection can handle any transmission protocol and is supported worldwide. It can provide high throughput and low delay for LAN and Internet applications, peer-to-peer connectivity, client-server computing, and other distributed processing applications.