A simple analytic model for the electron transport through filamentary-type structures in Si-rich silica (SiOx)-based resistive switches is proposed. The model is based on a mesoscopic description and is able to account for the linear and nonlinear components of conductance that arise from both fully and partially formed conductive channels spanning the dielectric film. Channels are represented by arrays of identical scatterers whose number and quantum transmission properties determine the current magnitude in the low and high resistance states. We show that the proposed model not only reproduces the experimental current-voltage (I-V) characteristics but also the normalized differential conductance (dln(I)/dln(V)-V) curves of devices under test. © 2013 AIP Publishing LLC.