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A "link" is just a connection between two things. There is in general no direct virtual equivalent, since connectivity between an interface and a bridge, for example, is generally achieve through membership rather than some sort cable analogue. E.g., a virtual machine is "linked" to a virtual switch (aka "a bridge") because its host-side interface is a member of that bridge. This document has a good overview of how things are virtually connected in an OpenStack environment using Neutron.

The closet equivalent to a "patch cable" is probably a pair of veth interfaces, some notes on which are available here, but I don't think this is terribly germain to your question.

You can apply bandwidth control to just about any interface on your Linux system through the use of the standard Linux traffic control/QoS features (see LARTC for more information).

In OpenStack, you can apply bandwidth limits on a per-flavor basis through the use of InstanceResourceQuotas.