What is the difference between these two L2vpn technologies?

The bits of info I was able to find but still don't answer my question-


Virtual private wire service (VPWS)—Has a characteristic of a fixed relationship between an attachment-virtual circuit and an emulated virtual circuit. VPWS-based services are point-to-point (for example, Frame-Relay/ATM/Ethernet services over IP/MPLS).

source: http://www.ciscopress.com/articles/article.asp?p=680839&seqNum=10


Xconnects are used to connect 2 distant sites that can use any of these technologies : Frame-Relay, PPP, Ethernet, ATM, that's why xconnects are also called Any Transport over MPLS (AToM).

source: https://learningnetwork.cisco.com/thread/68730

2 Answers 2


VPWS and Xconnect is about the same technology. VPWS is the name of technology, xconnect - keyword for configuring pseudowire. You can find different naming like VLL, L2VC, PWE3, etc. Essentially they are referring to the same technology of p2p l2 connections.

You can find more info in RFC 4664

For instance section 1.3 says:

There are two fundamentally different kinds of Layer 2 VPN service that a service provider could offer to a customer: Virtual Private Wire Service (VPWS) and Virtual Private LAN Service (VPLS). There is also the possibility of an IP-only LAN-like Service (IPLS).

A VPWS is a VPN service that supplies an L2 point-to-point service. As this is a point-to-point service, there are very few scaling issues with the service as such. Scaling issues might arise from the number of end-points that can be supported on a particular PE.

A VPLS is an L2 service that emulates LAN service across a Wide Area Network (WAN).


In a nutshell, VPWS or VLL (virtual leased line) support n-to-m connections like Ethernet while Xconnects are point-to-point only.

  • Don't you refer to VPLS? - from what I've read VPWS is point to point, and has no MAC address table associated with its VSI.
    – manish ma
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 8:18
  • VPWS doesn't switch within the link but you can connect an L2 segment to each side, bridging across the VLL.
    – Zac67
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 8:23
  • If there is no MAC address learning and it supports point to multi-point connections, how does the router know where to send the frame to?
    – manish ma
    Commented May 13, 2018 at 8:31

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