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Connecting to the Internet

Our discussion of networking thus far has been fairly company-centric, meaning we have talked about LAN and WAN technology in terms of providing a network infrastructure for a single company or institution. Even our discussion of wide area networking was a look at providing data communication avenues between remote sites and the company’s central LAN.

Another important aspect of networking the enterprise involves providing users with a conduit to the Internet. Although the rationale for connecting a company to the Internet can at times seem to be based on nothing more than a high-placed corporate officer shouting “Everyone else is doing it” at a board meeting, it falls on the network administrator or the administration team to determine the best way to connect the company’s network infrastructure to the Internet backbone. This usually means researching local Internet service providers (ISPs) and different WAN technology options for the connection between the corporate network and the ISP (with the ISP providing the onramp to the Internet backbone). Before we talk about ISPs and some of the issues related to selecting a connection type (we discuss the various WAN technologies used to connect to the Internet in Chapter 13, “Expanding a LAN with WAN Technology”), let’s take a look at how the Internet backbone is structured to provide communication among Internet service providers.


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