US is still the bandwidth big-daddy. This data collected by Telegeography says it all.

Top Internet Hub City: London, 1.1 Tbps bandwidth, 439 Gbps peak traffic.
Top Internet Hub Country: United States, 1.4 Tbps bandwidth, 704 Gbps peak traffic.
Top Internet Route: London – New York, 320 Gbps bandwidth, 153 Gbps peak traffic.
Top Region for Traffic Growth: Latin America, 70% average growth.
Top ISP by Autonomous System Connectivity: MCI, 3,102 connections.
Top ISP by Number of Countries Connected: AT&T, 52 countries.
Cheapest Place to Buy GigE Backbone Access: United States, $13 per Mbps per month
Highest International Bandwidth per Capita: Denmark, 38 Kbps per person.


Behind Internet . Visualizing Internet Topology and Structure


internet infrastructure

Shifting principles from biology which are explaining how human body works, we can present how Internet works. Stripping Internet into smaller elements, we can see how each parts are behing hold together by it’s skeleton. How heart is pumping traffic into it. It was it’s crutial elements, it has it’s anatomy. And it might be shocking to you, but Internet can not exist without it. Some of its pieces can, but overall Internet as body we know it, global and offering number of services, can not exist without it’s skeleton, heart etc. Therefore it is destructable, well some part will survive becouse soe many spare parts (failover paths), but it can suffer serius deasese indeed. However it is more and more independent network. Self-operational and not centralized making it impossible to shut down just like that. But “imposibble is nothing” as some marketing head decleared on known brand poster, right?

The Internet backbone refers to the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected networks and core routers in the Internet. These data routes are hosted by commercial, government, academic and other high-capacity network centers, the Internet exchange points and network access points, that interchange Internet traffic between the countries, continents and across the oceans of the world. Traffic interchange between the Internet service providers (often Tier 1 networks) participating in the Internet backbone exchange traffic by privately negotiated interconnection agreements, primarily governed by the principle of settlement-free peering.

The original Internet backbone was the ARPANET when it provided the routing between most participating networks. It was replaced in 1989 with the NSFNet backbone (National Science Foundation Network). The Internet could be defined as the collection of all networks connected and able to interchange Internet Protocol datagrams with this backbone.

When the Internet was opened to the commercial markets, and for-profit Internet backbone and access providers emerged, the network routing architecture was decentralized with new exterior routing protocols, in particular the Border Gateway Protocol. New tier 1 ISPs and their peering agreements supplanted the government-sponsored NSFNet, a program that was officially terminated on April 30, 1995. The NSFNET Backbone Service was successfully transitioned to a new architecture, where traffic is exchanged at interconnection points called Network access points.

The four Network Access Points (NAPs) were defined under the U.S. National Information Infrastructure (NII) document as transitional data communications facilities at which Network Service Providers (NSPs) would exchange traffic, in replacement of the publicly-financed NSFNet Internet backbone.

The National Science Foundation let contracts supporting the four NAPs, one to MFS Datanet for the preexisting MAE in Washington, D.C., and three others to Sprint, Ameritech, and Pacific Bell, for new facilities of various designs and technologies, in Pennsauken, Chicago, and California, respectively

As a transitional strategy, they were effective, giving commercial network operators a bridge from the Internet’s beginnings as a government-funded academic experiment, to the modern Internet of many private-sector competitors collaborating to form a network-of-networks, anchored around the Internet Exchange Points we know today.

Today, the phrase “Network Access Point” is of historical interest only, since the four transitional NAPs disappeared long ago, replaced by modern IXPs, though in Spanish-speaking Latin America, the phrase lives on to a small degree, among those who conflate the NAPs with IXPs.

An Internet exchange point (IX or IXP) is a physical infrastructure through which Internet service providers (ISPs) exchange Internet traffic between their networks (autonomous systems) without any centralized control (like NSFNET Backbone).

The primary purpose of an IXP is to allow networks to interconnect directly, via the exchange, rather than through one or more 3rd party networks. The advantages of the direct interconnection are numerous, but the primary reasons are cost, latency, and bandwidth. Traffic passing through an exchange is typically not billed by any party, whereas traffic to an ISP’s upstream provider is.

Internet traffic exchange between two participants on an IXP is facilitated by BGP routing configurations between them. They choose to announce routes via the peering relationship – either routes to their own addresses, or routes to addresses of other ISPs that they connect to, possibly via other mechanisms. The other party to the peering can then apply route filtering, where it chooses to accept those routes, and route traffic accordingly, or to ignore those routes, and use other routes to reach those addresses.

Autonomous system (AS) is a collection of connected Internet Protocol (IP) routing prefixes under the control of one or more network operators that presents a common, clearly defined routing policy to the Internet. In technical terms, an AS number is a 16-bit integer assigned by
InterNIC (InterNIC is a registered service mark of the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC). The use of the term is licensed to the ICANN) and used by BGP to implement policy routing and avoid top-level routing loops.

Originally, the definition required control by a single entity, typically an Internet service provider or a very large organization with independent connections to multiple networks, that adhere to a single and clearly defined routing policy.

The newer definition in RFC 1930 came into use because multiple organizations can run BGP using private AS numbers to an ISP that connects all those organizations to the Internet. Even though there are multiple Autonomous Systems supported by the ISP, the Internet only sees the routing policy of the ISP. That the ISP must have an officially registered Autonomous System Number (ASN).

A unique ASN is allocated to each AS for use in BGP routing. AS numbers are important because the ASN uniquely identifies each network on the Internet.

Until 2007, AS numbers were defined as 16-bit integers, which allowed for a maximum of 65536 assignments. The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) has designated ASN numbers 64512 through 65534 to be used for private purposes.

The number of unique autonomous networks in the routing system of the Internet exceeded 5000 in 1999, 30000 in late 2008, and 35000 in the summer of 2010.

AS numbers are assigned in blocks by the Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) to Regional Internet Registries (RIRs). The appropriate RIR then assigns AS numbers to entities within its designated area from the block assigned by the IANA (The Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA) is the entity that oversees global IP address allocation, autonomous system number allocation, root zone management in the Domain Name System (DNS), media types, and other Internet Protocol-related symbols and numbers). Entities wishing to receive an ASN must complete the application process of their local RIR and be approved before being assigned an ASN.

Today, there are five RIRs :

1. APNIC Asia-Pacific Network Information Centre for Asia, Australia, and neighboring countries.

2.ARIN American Registry for Internet Numbers for the United States, Canada, and several parts of the Caribbean region.

3.RIPE NCC for Europe, the Middle East, and Central Asia

4.LACNIC Latin America and Caribbean Network Information Centre for Latin America and parts of the Caribbean region

5.AfriNIC African Network Information Centre for Africa

Current IANA ASN assignments can be found on the IANA website.

IANA, RIR’s together with ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, IANA is part of ICANN) are considered to be actors/bodies of Internet Governance structure.

On September 29, 2006, The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) has an agreement with the ICANN for the purpose of the joint development of the mechanisms, methods, and procedures necessary to effect the transition of Internet domain name and addressing system (DNS) to the private sector.

At the first World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) in Geneva 2003 the topic of Internet governance was discussed. ICANN’s status as a private corporation under contract to the U.S. government created controversy among other governments, especially Brazil, China, South Africa and some Arab states. Since no general agreement existed even on the definition of what comprised Internet governance, United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan initiated a Working Group on Internet Governance (WGIG) to clarify the issues and report before the second part of the World Summit on the Information Society in Tunis 2005.

A few weeks before the release of the WGIG Report the U.S. reiterated its claim of ICANN and stated that it wished to “maintain its historic role in authorizing changes or modifications to the authoritative root zone file”

The report of the WGIG divided Internet Governance into four sections:

* Infrastructure (mainly the Domain Name System and IP addresses)
* Internet issues such as security, safety and privacy (including spam and cybercrime)
* Intellectual property and international trade (including copyrights)
* Development Issues (particularly developing countries).

More here:

After much controversial debate, during which the US delegation refused to consider surrendering the US control of the Root Zone file, participants agreed on a compromise to allow for wider international debate on the policy principles. They agreed to establish an Internet Governance Forum, to be convened by United Nations Secretary General before the end of the second quarter of the year 2006. The Greek government volunteered to host the first such meeting.

Today officialy we can put on the top of Internet organization called IGF. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is a multi-stakeholder forum for policy dialogue on issues of Internet governance. The establishment of the IGF was formally announced by the United Nations Secretary-General in July 2006 and it was first convened in October / November 2006.

In 2010, ICANN approved a major review of its policies with respect to accountability, transparency, and public participation by the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University. This external review was in support of the work of ICANN’s Accountability and Transparency Review team.

Autonomous Systems can be grouped into three categories, depending on their connectivity and operating policy.

A multihomed Autonomous System is an AS that maintains connections to more than one other AS. This allows the AS to remain connected to the Internet in the event of a complete failure of one of their connections. However, this type of AS would not allow traffic from one AS to pass through on its way to another AS.

A stub Autonomous System refers to an AS that is connected to only one other AS. This may be an apparent waste of an AS number if the network’s routing policy is the same as its upstream AS’s. However, the stub AS may in fact have peering with other Autonomous Systems that is not reflected in public route-view servers. Specific examples include private interconnections in the financial and transportation sectors.

A transit Autonomous System is an AS that provides connections through itself to other networks. That is, network A can use network B, the transit AS, to connect to network C. ISPs are always transit ASs, because they provide connections from one network to another. The ISP is considered to be ‘selling transit service’ to the customer network, thus the term transit AS.


tier 1 networks – definition of a tier 1 network is one that can reach every other network on the Internet without purchasing IP transit or paying settlements.

There are several companies which run different parts of Internet backbone (major data pathways on the Internet ), but the largest is UUnet.  Other major backbone providers include Sprint, MCI and Intermedia (formerly known as Digital Express or Digex).


tier 2 network – is an Internet service provider who engages in the practice of peering with other networks, but who still purchases IP transit to reach some portion of the Internet.

Tier 2 providers are the most common providers on the Internet as it is much easier to purchase transit from a Tier 1 network than it is to peer with them and then attempt to push into becoming a Tier 1 carrier.

A network that peers with some networks, but still purchases IP transit or pays settlements to reach at least some portion of the Internet.

tier 3 network – a network that solely purchases transit from other networks to reach the Internet. The majority of Tier 3 networks are usually single rather than multi-homed and therefore are vulnerable to depeering disputes.


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