< 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.