Definition

overlay network

This definition is part of our Essential Guide: Overlay networks: Understanding the basics, making it a reality

An overlay network is a telecommunications network that is built on top of another network and is supported by its infrastructure. An overlay network decouples network services from the underlying infrastructure by encapsulating one packet inside of another packet. After the encapsulated packet has been forwarded to the endpoint, it is de-encapsulated.

Most overlay networks run on top of the public Internet, which itself began as an overlay research network running over the infrastructure of the public switched telephone network (PSTN). Other examples of overlay network deployments include virtual private networks (VPNs), peer-to-peer (P2P) networks, content delivery networks (CDNs), voice over IP (VoIP) services such as Skype and non-native software-defined networks.

 

Overlay network protocols include Virtual Extensible LAN (VXLAN), Network Virtualization using Generic Encapsulation (NVGRE), stateless transport tunneling (STT), Generic Routing Encapsulation (GRE) and Network Virtualization Overlays 3 (NVO3).

This was last updated in September 2016

Continue Reading About overlay network

PRO+

Content

Find more PRO+ content and other member only offers, here.

Start the conversation

Send me notifications when other members comment.

By submitting you agree to receive email from TechTarget and its partners. If you reside outside of the United States, you consent to having your personal data transferred to and processed in the United States. Privacy

Please create a username to comment.

-ADS BY GOOGLE

File Extensions and File Formats

Powered by:

SearchNetworking

SearchEnterpriseWAN

SearchCloudProvider

SearchUnifiedCommunications

SearchSecurity

SearchDataCenter

Close