the Internet Backbone

William Allen Simpson bsimpson at
Sat Apr 6 18:59:03 UTC 1996

> From: Paul Ferguson <pferguso at>
> At 03:34 PM 4/5/96 +0800, Vadim Antonov wrote:
> >Paul A Vixie <paul at> wrote:
> >>Last time this term came up, I opined that there was no "backbone" any more
> >>and that 1996's Internet had a "hairball topology."  Vadim, among others,
> >>disagreed with me but we didn't pursue the topic.  Perhaps we should have.
> >
> >Well, "backbone" is too vague.  I rather prefer to think of Internet
> >topology as of "tiers".  The nodes in upper-levels cast "cones of
> >influence" in lower tiers.  Nodes from lower tiers belonging to
> >different cones of influence do not generally speak to each other,
> >and so have to purchase transit from higher tiers.
> >
> Well, I kind of liked the term 'blobs' [credit to Jerry Scharf].  :-)
I agree with Paul Vixie, there is no true backbone, although there are
two possible contenders for the title.

Tiers were called "bubbles" by Noel Chiappa, if I remember correctly.

I rather like bubbles instead of cones or tiers, as it matches the old
political "spheres of influence".

WSimpson at
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BSimpson at
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