What makes the Internet?

Some of you will be aware of how the internet works but for those who are unsure, please read on….. This page will briefly explain each part of the network that creates the internet. We focus on the UK domestic side and how its constructed. Most of the UK will be connected via BT/Openreach using a xDSL based connection, via an ISP like TalkTalk, Sky or Plusnet (Etc),

Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) will either have equipment embedded in the local exchange or rent capacity from Openreach in this style: 

This product is known as FTTC or Fibre to the cabinet as part of the GEA (Generic Ethernet Access) solution and offers VDSL technology up to 80Mbps download speeds and up to 20Mbps upload speeds, these speeds will drop away fairly quickly the longer the line. If you have a line longer than 1km from the cabinet, then you’re looking at very low speeds.

If you’re with VirginMedia, it’s just like the above but using coaxial cable and DOCSIS technology. If you’re with Hyperoptic or Gigaclear, it’s likely it’s full-fibre all the way.

Like the motorways of the Internet, It web’s around data centres and regional handover points for ISP’s, interconnecting and peering with one another. Like Commsworld’s new network with 1.6Tbps of core optical capacity and 130 Gbps of external peering capacity. This network uses segments of CityFibre’s network, which in turn uses segments of Vodafone’s C&W network. 

For ISP’s like BT/Openreach – It will use BT’s own 21CN carrier network, bouncing between BT exchanges, reach key peering sites for internet exchanging. For connections bound for America, BT will route traffic via TAT-14 through Bude (Kings Hill CLS) – This massive cable provides 9.38 Tbit/s of capacity to the USA via Tuckerton, New Jersey, USA  and to Europe via St-Valery-en-Caux, France. 

For VirginMedia connections bound for America, It will use ex NTL fibre and will route via Wiltshire, Exeter, Devon and through to Cornwall to handover to the number of third-party carriers. With the new breed of provider, Backhaul to the internet exchange is provided by one company and IP transit to the rest of the world is provided by another. 

In the UK, there are over 200 huge warehouses, full of servers, empowering the internet we see today. Worldwide, there are many 10’s of 1000’s more. All of these locations typically have one or more connections to different networks to make them faster than their competitors. These will also have constant air cooling, redundant and resiliency power and fire suppression, 24-hour security and a clean room for building expensive servers and storage arrays.

This one pictured is in Kent Science Park has hosts many web-hosting providers, with high density servers hosting 100,000’s of websites. This site has multiple 10Gbps fibres back to Telehouse North & East over a number of different suppliers. Each route giving them another layer of security. 

Typically, a website would be hosted on a single server somewhere, with cloud technology, many servers, in many locations host the website and will serve local visitors on a fastest serves first basis.