Where do internet providers get the internet they’re providing?


Where do internet providers get the internet they’re providing?

In: Technology

these providers are the ones hosting their own DNS server(think internet phone books that match Ip addresses to servers hosting webpages) and generally they are the ones laying out the infrastructure to enable the physical connections.

It’s more like, the internet is water, flowing between ponds and lakes and oceans along rivers, and the internet service provider is the company that builds the pipes to deliver that water to your house and pump sewage water out.

In more technical terms, the “Internet” is just a bunch of computers storing data around the world and they are connected via cables and radio signals and the internet service provider is adding a line that connects you into that.

They put a bunch of computers in a room and connect them together.

Then they connect their computer room to other computer rooms in different places.

That allows them all to talk to each other so you can access information regardless of which computer room its stored in.

The internet is a communication network, not a substance. I blame all the silly water analogies for making a lot of people thinking this. They don’t get the internet anywhere, the collective interconnected ISPs and the computers connected to their networks *is* the internet.

Most people will connect through an ISP who is a Tier 3 provider. Tier 3 providers are buying capacity off of Tier 2 (for local) and Tier 1 (for international) providers. They can run there own data center which will include the hosting for their email servers and websites but many ISPs are outsourcing even that nowadays. Tier 2 networks will have peering (i.e. free) or interconnect (i.e. cross payments) agreements with other networks within the country to provide access to what is essentially the local internet. Tier 1 networks will interface with the international data cables.

So essentially if you are setting up an ISP you need to have an agreement with a telecom provider to supply the last mile access to the client, agreement with a Tier 2 network for local bandwidth and Tier 1 for international.

So a net, or network, is two or more computers talking to each other. And there are many networks. Let’s go over them by size category:

You are in your office at work and you decide to move some photos from your phone to your desktop. To do this you connect the two via a USB cable. You just created a ‘personal area network’ or PAN to allow two computers (your phone and desktop) to communicate.

Im this example you could say you are the provider for this PAN since you control plugging and unplugging this cable.

Next you decide to print these photos. Your printer is connected to your computer via the office router so you can share the data to it. This is using the ‘local area network’ or LAN made by your router that connects your computer in the office to other computers and printers and scanners and such. For this example the provider would be the IT guy in the office as he makes sure everything is working for you.

Now your company has two buildings which are a few dozen miles apart. Since some of your data is very sensitive, rather than risking sending it over the internet, they connected the two buildings with a cable that they installed. Not a lot of companies do this but there are a few. Your company just created a ‘Wide Area Network’ or WAN. The provider would be the IT company your company has a contract with to fix things if anything goes wrong.

Finally you do need to send emails to people in other companies so your company buys access to a large WAN. This one has cables running all over the place and connects many companies together allowing their respective computers to talk to one another. There are many different IT companies who build and maintain the wires to connect all these computers and even build special computers and other technology to help make this happen. Your company signs a contract with one such IT company in your area. You are now connected to the largest WAN in the world, also known as the internet.

Typically, ISP’s of similar sizes in the same area connect their networks together reciprocally (peering). Smaller ISP’s connect to bigger ISP’s as customers (if you have a small ISP, your ISP is essentially re-selling Internet connectivity it buys from one or more other ISP’s).

Alice owns a big ISP with 5 million customers. Bob owns another big ISP with 7 million customers.

Alice says, “Hey Bob, let’s connect our networks together. That way your customers’ computers can talk to my customers’ computers, and vice versa.”

Bob says, “Okay! Sounds like a win-win to me.” And then both companies have a few technicians go out to a bunch of different places all over the two companies’ common service area, install some equipment, run some cables, configure some software, and so on. When they’re done, the two networks can “talk” to each other.

Now suppose Charlie comes along, he owns a small ISP with 50,000 customers. Charlie says “Hey Bob, let’s connect our networks together.” Bob says “Nah you’re too small. This benefits you more than it benefits me. You have to pay me $50,000 a month if you want to connect your network to my network.” Charlie says “Okay, I guess I have no choice” and starts paying Bob $50,000 a month.

They are just connecting you to the internet. Imagine you are a capillary in like your finger. Your internet provider is the vein or artery that connects you to the main arteries in your body. Your ISP is just a bridge. If you wanted you could connect to those arteries directly, but you’d literally have to build a line that far, and directly connect to the artery. The line itself isn’t cheap. And as a single user like you the arteries are going to charge you to access the internet through them. Bigger companies can ignore this charge because they have sharing agreements.

Theoretically you could just build your own line directly into amazon servers or whatever website you wanted to access. But you’d have to do this for every single website you wanted.

And believe it or not, sometimes that happens when the absolute fastest speeds are demanded by a consumer who wants direct access.