the Internet Backbone

Jim Browning jfbb at
Fri Apr 5 17:35:12 UTC 1996

>From:  John Curran[SMTP:jcurran at]
>At 10:32 AM 4/5/96, William Allen Simpson wrote:
>>> From: Avi Freedman <freedman at>
>>> Everyone (of importance) agrees that in order to claim you're a 
>>> you have to (now, not a year ago) be connected to at least 2 public 
>>> and have at least one circuit that runs at DS3 or higher speed.
>>No, that is not correct.
>>A US Internet "backbone" is one which connects to ALL the NAP/MAEs in
>>the US.  Not just two.  All of them.
>     I'm not sure that's a viable definition.   First, the number of MAE's 
>     seems to be increasing withou bound, and secondly, there are points
>     that you don't want to connect due to their performance.  Finally, is 
>     "connecting" considered the same as "peering"?

There is no clear consensus concerning which of the facilities are "NAPs", 
let alone which ones an ISP should participate in to be considered a 
credible National/Backbone provider.  For instance, while MAE-West was not 
one of the original NAPs established by NSF, it clearly qualifies in all 
other respects.  On the other hand, I don't think it would be considered 
necessary to be at LA, Phoenix, Tucson, Dallas, etc right now to be 
considered a National/Backbone provider.  The criteria I've heard most 
frequently is "connected to three of the NAPs, peering with at least 2 
national providers at each of those NAPs".  I believe this is what MCI 
requires in order to establish peering with a new entity...
Jim Browning

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