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You are correct that the data flow is through the proxy nodes. At Rackspace, we have the proxy nodes connected to the public network via 10G connections and the storage nodes (internal network) connected via 1G. We have many more storage nodes than proxy nodes, and we aren't network limited by the proxies. Note that each external request to the proxy servers will turn in to 3 requests on the storage node network (three replicated writes that attempt to happen concurrently).

The way to configure two or more proxies is to have one external VIP that load balances across all of the proxy nodes.

The data flow is (client) -> (load balancer) -> proxy -> (3x storage node).