This document describes the organizations involved, in the development, corodination, maintenance of Internet.


Administration, Development and Global Coordination

Organization Structure:

What we know as the Internet is a loose association of diverse networks that have agreed to use a set of common protocols and is not owned by any one group. As a voluntary association of networks, the closest description to an Internet management group are the standard setting organizations responsible for setting determining the protocols that define how networks interconnect. Following are the major organizations which voluterily coordinate Internet.

Internet Society (ISOC)

Internet Architecture Board (IAB)

Internet Assigned Numbers Authority (IANA):

Chartered by the ISOC and the Federal Networking Council and operates out of the University of Southern California, is the central coordinator for the assignment IP addresses and manages the Root Domain Name Service.  There are inturn three regional bodies that designate numbers

Network Information Centers (NIC)

NICs are national/geographic organizations that currently performs both Registry and Registrar functions.  Excluding some service fees, addresses are currently distributed free of charge by most regional Network Information Centers (NICs).  In the US, the government is currently (February, 1998) considering expanding NIC and domain names.In the United States, there are three Network Information Centers:

Trade Association:

Commercial Internet eXchange a trade organization of commercial internet providers that also provides the exchange of commercial internet traffic on a peer basis through a Network Access Point in Santa Clara, CA, and will coordinate the establishment of Regional Exchange Points.

The Internet Service Provider Consortium and the Internet Communications Action Group are two industry organizations may be of interest.


Internet Service Providers

Focus: End-User Access, Low Cost

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the equivalent to a retail type organization that, in effect, provides an Internet dial tone.  As technology changes, and as consolidation occurs, the position of an ISP in the market is evolving.   The evolving ISP may provide services in the following areas:
  1. Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) - to - Internet Backbone Interface
  2. Network Management / Outsourcing Services
  3. Commercial Outsourcing type services - providing a set of services to large and small businesses related to the management of networks. Typical commercial services might include:
  4. Interconnect to the Internet through Regional Exchange Point (REP), and may uses some form of Multi-Lateral Peering Agreement (MPLA).
  5. Provide other data and networking services such as hosting USEnet newsfeeds and listserver functions.
At last count there were around 6,000 local Internet Service Providers in the United States, most of which were losing money.

Many ISP's are providing value-added services beyond simple access to the Internet. While the traditional access services will continue to grow, this section of the market is maturing, meaning that the cost of service and economies of scale will become increasingly important.

ISP Sources of Revenue
Internet Access
Web Hosting & Security
Electronic Commerce
In billions of dollars. Source: Forrester Research
Riggs, B (April 28, 1997) Hard Times for the Small ISP, LanTimes. 55-58

Of interest may be:

Note: It is expected that web page design activities will migrate toward organizations specializing in advertising and/or graphic design. See the Boardwatch Map of North American ISPs (ISPs tend to have a .net e-mail address).

Regional Network Providers

Focus: Network Access and Management, System Integration, Reliability, and Service

A Regional Network Provider (RNP) operates a private Wide Area Network across several Local Access Telephone Areas.  The RNP acts as a client/server system integrator, Value Added Reseller, and/or a provider of Internet services to an geographic market area. Service providers that might be considered to be RNPs in the Oklahoma Area, those with multiple Points of Presence (POP), include:


Consumer level:

Marketing Information The generation of commercial mailing lists based on subscribers to a network service is in great demand by advertising and marketing organizations. The more information about a subscriber that can be provided (their likes and dislikes, etc.) the more valuable the information.

Focus: Developing Consumer Demographic Information for resale

Direct Marketing World, Direct Marketing News, the Smart Business Supersite page on Direct Mail, and an article titled Direct Mail and the Dynamics of Response By George Duncan are resources that may be useful in learning more about this aspect of marketing.

global reach

Internet Backbone

Focus: National/International Interconnection, Reliability (99.9% availability)

The components of the Internet Backbone include:
  1. Network Service Providers (NSP) which operate the networks that route TCP/IP packets that transport data form point to point,
  2. Long Distance Carriers (telephone) which provide communication channels, and
  3. Network Access Points (NAP) that provide for the exchange of packets between networks operated by the Network Service Providers.

Network Service Providers (NSP) - also called peering centers

are the organizations providing the foundation for the backbone of the Internet. The structure of the Internet's backbone is largely based in the architecture of NSFNET , as it was previously officially known when it was largely funded through the National Science Foundation.

A NSP offers National/International interconnecting Internet services to the wholesale level Regional Network Providers (RNP) and very large Internet Service Providers (ISP). through Priority Network Access Points (NAP). Also linking to the Priority NAP is the Routing Arbiter (RA), which provides routing information to NAP clients through a host-based route server. To be considered a NSP, the network must interconnect at a minimum of three priority NAP's using at least DS3 rates (in 1995 DS1 rates were sufficient), and route both IP and ISO 8473 (Connectionless-mode Network Layer Protocol - CLNP) packets. Service level targets from an operational standpoint often include 99.92% availability, or no more than 7 hours/year of unavailable time with less than 2.25 service outages per year. The mean time to restore service is 2.5 hours.

Primary National Service Providers - Internet Backbone:

Primary National Service Providers collectively operate what is often referred to as the Public Internet Backbone.  Each Primary National Service Provider operates one or more Wide Area Networks, typically using either Frame Relay and/or ATM architectures on a national basis.  Local ISPs typically use these Primary National Service Providers as their interface point to the Internet Backbone.

Primary National Service Providers and National Internet Service Providers exchange packets at Network Access Points.  Backbone providers are often called "defaultless cores" because their routers do not use default routing information.  The routers used by a backbone provider use Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) to dynamically learn routes.  When the owner of an IP address changes ISP providers, it announces its new provider to the rest of the workd using BGP, which causes the world's routers to adjust their routing tables to account for the change.  Most backbone providers will not accept BGP messages from any but the largest organizaitons, which effectively makes IP numbers the responsibility of ISPs.      Examples of Primary National Service Providers include:

WorldCom Inc.
An integrated telecommunications company that is currently (February 1998) in the process of acquiring several organizations.  When all companies are acquired, WorldCom will control just under 50% of the Internet Backbone.
a primary component of the Internet backbone, employing many of the original developers of the Internet
AGIS (Apex Global Information Systems) (map)
currently uses Worldcom's ATM service at DS-3 (45 Mbps) rates to haul IP data across the U.S., and has begun its migration to OC-3 (155 Mbps). Provides service to over 40 countries. Provides services to ISPs and large corporations.
Cable & Wireless Internet Exchange (CWIX) (map)
an international telecommunications company with extensive interests in Hong Kong, Japan, Europe, North America and over 50 other countries. Provides services to ISPs and large corporations.
Good.Net [ map]
a Phoenix based service provider with an ATM backbone using DS3 (45 Mbps) and OC3 (155 Mbps) lines
Very High Speed Backbone Network Service (National Science Foundation) (vBNS)
The National Science Foundation (NSF) has contracted with MCI, to provide a very high speed link between the NSF funded supercomputer centers, and a few other sites. It is intended to always be a network on the leading edge. Initially the vBNS will operate at OC-3 (155 Mbps) with a planned upgrade to OC-12 (622 Mbps) soon. Its use is reserved for meritorious research.
Internet II
The Internet II project is a developmental and pre- competitive collaborative effort among a number of universities, federal R&D agencies, and private sector firms to develop a next generation Internet for research and education. The concept of Internet II was created in October 1996 by a core group of 34 universities who met in Chicago. The GigaPOP is the point of interconnection and service delivery between one or more institutional members of the Internet-II development project and one or more service providers. Internet II will be designed to provide the higher education community with "new modes of interactive collaboration and distance learning, the integration of distributed multimedia digital library collections with academic programs, greater access to expensive specialized research facilities such as accelerators and supercomputers, and life long scholarly pursuits facilitated through ready access to learning materials from homes, offices, or anywhere convenient to the learner." NSF has proposed an expanded role for its vBNS infrastructure that potentially could attach as many as 100 sites nationally to the current OC-3 backbone and could provide a deployment platform for emerging applications in support of research and collaboration. (also see University of California at Santa Barbara and University of Michigan)

National Internet Service Providers

A National Internet Service Provider operates a private Wide Area Network on a national basis.  These organizations exchange packets at Network Access Points.   Examples of National Internet Service Providers include:
uses ATM and T3 lines. A national ISP with Points of Presence in over 300 US cities, plus Canada and the United Kingdom
PSINet ( map)
Frame Relay network using Cascade ATM switches. A national ISP with over 225 Points of Presence in the US with ISPs in Britain, Netherlands, Japan, South Korea, Canada, and other places. Also has major responsibilities for the Commercial Internet Exchange (CIX)
UUnet (division of WorldCom) map
Cascade switches, Cisco routers, IP, FDDI. Has a joint marketing agreement with GTE. Has over 500 Points of Presence with ISPs in Britain and Germany.
a subsidiary of GTE, one of the original nationwide networks
Note: As of 1996, all the above, except AGIS, are providing ISP (retail) service in more than one metropolitan location.

Long Distance Carrier

Long Distance Carriers provide a national network of communication channels for the Internet as well as other long distance voice and data communication needs. In general, the NAP contracts with a Long Distance Carrier for the channels needed for their backbone. The primary land line carriers with a national scope include:
Hughes Network Systems (Galaxy IV Satellite) provides national internet coverage by satellite. The service, primarily for downloading large files, also requires land-line connection to the Internet for coordination.

Network Access Points (NAP)

Provides a mechanism for NSP's and ISP's to interconnect. It is made up of equipment provided by the NAP Manager (Sprint), the RA, and collocated NSP/ISP equipment along with services provided by the local NAP Manager and the RA. The only restrictions on traffic flow are those resulting from bilateral agreements between the NSP's and ISP's or from legal restrictions. ISP's and NSP's must have at least one bilateral arrangement with another ISP/NSP to attach to the NAP. There are six Priority Network Access Points, and several other non-priority NAPs in the United States are provided by:
Note: There are listings of World Wide Exchanges. The National Laboratory for Applied Network Research contains additional information.



Other Definitions

Routing Arbiter (RA)
The organization, under award from NSF, which provides routing information at each NAP. They intend to provide customized routing information at each NAP that will reflect all bilateral agreements between that NAP's clients.
Regional Exchange Point (REP)
Provides a mechanism for ISPs and other REPs to interconnect with at least one NSP. Typically does not provide inter-NAP connectivity, but does provide some form of inter-ISP connectivity through a Multi-Lateral Peering Agreement (MPLA)..