Network connections

What is an Internet backbone?

Internet backbones are core areas within a network that interconnect subnetworks below them and thus make global data exchange possible in the first place. Fiber optic cables or sometimes satellite links are used for transmission.

Global network connections


Internet backbone: a definition

The term backbone refers to the core area of a network where smaller subnetworks converge for data exchange. Comparable to the human backbone, from which the name is derived, the central data streams are bundled here. What the main nerve cords are in the human body, the high-performance connections between the nodes represent on the Internet. Most of the global traffic is transmitted via these lines. They ensure that cloud services operate at high performance worldwide.

Power cable connected to hardware


How is data transmitted in Internet backbones?

Technically, most data transmission today takes place via fiber optic links. They transport the data in form of light waves over land as well as over the seabed between continents. Interconnected in a branched network, the backbone lines, as the core area of the Internet, secure high-bandwidth data transmission. Satellite-based radio links are also used for backbones.


How are backbones protected against outages? 

The redundant structure of the backbone networks ensures that faults in individual lines can be absorbed to ensure functionality even in the event of damage. Background: In the past, submarine cables have been damaged or even severed by anchoring ships on several occasions.


How are backbones connected to each other? 

The physical connection points between the individual backbone lines are the so-called points of presence (PoPs). This is where data is transferred between the individual providers. PoPs have the necessary routers, switches, servers, and other equipment required to route traffic to the connected networks. As a result, data centers for points of presence are often located near major Internet Exchange Points (IXPs), such as DE-CIX in Frankfurt am Main, Germany. The short distance between points of presence and Internet Exchange Points ensures the highest possible performance.

To optimize the management of the PoPs and make them as performant and cost-effective as possible for all providers, cloud operators and other Internet companies involved, so-called colocation centers, carrier hotels and meet-me rooms are operated at large nodes. Providers station the required IT infrastructure here to forward the data within a neutral environment with very bandwidth-strong connections. One well-known operator of cloud-neutral colocation centers is Myra partner Interxion, for example, which provides connections to more than 500 network operators and 20 European Internet exchanges via its infrastructure.



Internet backbone: What you need to know

Internet backbones are high-performance network core areas that serve to connect the subnetworks below them. Smaller subnetworks of different providers converge at the backbones to enable global data exchange on the Internet. Data is usually transmitted via optical fiber, but satellite links are also used. The transition from one operator to another takes place at the service providers' PoPs. These are often located near larger Internet nodes, because there the forwarding to the networks of other providers can take place at high performance in neutral environments such as colocation centers, carrier hotels and meet-me rooms.

Fast and reliable connectivity to Internet backbones also plays a key role for Myra. That is why we operate a globally secure CDN infrastructure that is connected to central IXPs and PoPs worldwide. This enables Myra to reliably absorb even unexpectedly high load peaks and ensure maximum performance for our customers. Learn more about our High Performance CDN here.