Circuit-Switched Network – a type of network where the communications between end devices (nodes) must be set up before they can communicate. Once set up, the “circuit” is dedicated to the two nodes it connects for the duration of that connection. An example of a circuit-switched network is an analog telephone network.
It contrasts with packet-switched networks, which break the communication into packets and then send those packets through the network independently of one another. They do not establish a dedicated communications channel between hosts, rather they offer a “best effort” network that can be used by a variety of hosts to communicate at the same time.
A virtual circuit-switched network tries to emulate the dedicated connection established by circuit-switching using packet-switching technology.