Internet backbone

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Internet backbone

(communications, networking)
High-speed networks that carry Internet traffic.

These communications networks are provided by companies such as AT&T, GTE, IBM, MCI, Netcom, Sprint, UUNET and consist of high-speed links in the T1, T3, OC1 and OC3 ranges. The backbones carry Internet traffic around the world and meet at Network Access Points (NAPs).

Internet Service Providers (ISPs) connect either directly to a backbone, or they connect to a larger ISP with a connection to a backbone.

The topology of the "backbone" and its interconnections may once have resembled a spine with ribs connected along its length but is now almost certainly more like a fishing net wrapped around the world with many circular paths.

Internet backbone

A communications network managed by a commercial company that provides the primary high-speed links across a country or region. Smaller ISPs are either connected directly to these backbones or to a larger regional ISP that is connected to one. The backbones themselves are interconnected at various access points called "NAPs." Major backbone providers worldwide include Level 3 Communications, NTT, GTT, Tata Communications, Telia Carrier, CenturyLink, AT&T, Verizon and Sprint. See NAP.