July 10, 2024 | 5 min read
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Demystifying Global Internet: Infrastructure and providers explained

Expereo team

In a previous article we discussed how the concept of "Global Internet" has become pivotal for businesses looking to expand their reach and ensure seamless operations across different regions. Understanding what constitutes Global Internet, the infrastructure and technologies that support it, and the key players involved is essential for any enterprise looking to leverage global connectivity solutions. 

We’re delving into the intricacies of Global Internet, highlighting the differences between local and global services and their implications for business operations so you can make informed decisions to support your connectivity strategy.

Defining Global Internet: What is it and what does it do?

Global Internet refers to the 100,000+ networks worldwide that make up the Internet.

This global network comprises a multitude of components, including undersea cables, satellite links, terrestrial networks, and the infrastructure maintained by international Internet service providers (ISPs).

Unlike local Internet services that operate within specific geographic boundaries, Global Internet services provide consistent and high-quality connectivity across multiple countries and regions. This is crucial for businesses that operate in multiple countries or regions. It ensures that all branches, remote offices, and partners can access the same digital resources and maintain consistent performance standards.

Internet infrastructure: The backbone of global connectivity

The infrastructure that supports Global Internet connectivity is both intricate and robust. It includes several key elements that work together to deliver high-speed, reliable Internet access across the globe, including:

Undersea cables: These fiber-optic cables are laid on the ocean floor and are responsible for transmitting the majority of international data by connecting the connect different continents and regions.

Satellite links: Satellites play a crucial role in providing Internet access to remote and underserved areas where terrestrial networks are not viable. Companies like SpaceX are revolutionizing satellite Internet with constellations of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, promising higher speeds and lower latency.

Terrestrial networks: On land, extensive networks of fiber-optic cables, microwave links, and cellular towers connect cities, towns, and rural areas. These networks are vital for last-mile connectivity, ensuring that end-users can access the Internet.

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs): IXPs are physical locations where different ISPs and network providers exchange Internet traffic. They are essential for improving network performance and reducing latency by facilitating direct interconnections between networks.

Data centers: These facilities house servers and networking equipment that store and manage data. Data centers are strategically located around the world to ensure redundancy and optimize data delivery.

The key technologies that make up the Global Internet

Several technologies underpin the Global Internet, ensuring that data can be transmitted efficiently and securely across vast distances. Some of the critical technologies include:

Internet Protocol (IP): IP is the fundamental protocol that governs how data is sent and received over the Internet. Global IP connectivity ensures that data packets can travel from one part of the world to another seamlessly.

Peering: Peering is the strategic interconnection of separate, autonomous Internet networks, allowing them to exchange traffic directly without intermediary networks. This practice ensures efficient data exchange and enhances the performance of global Internet connectivity.

SD-WAN (Software-Defined Wide Area Network): SD-WAN technology manages and secures applications across the Internet. businesses to manage multiple Internet connections and create a more flexible and resilient network. It optimizes the application experience by selecting the best-performance Internet access connection.

Network visibility tools: These tools provide real-time insights into network performance, helping businesses monitor and manage their Global Internet infrastructure effectively. They enable proactive troubleshooting and optimization of network traffic.

Global ISPs: The gatekeepers of global connectivity

International Internet service providers (ISPs) own and operate the infrastructure that spans continents, ensuring that businesses and individuals can access the Internet from virtually anywhere in the world. Key global ISPs include:

  • Local or regional ISPs: In-country ISPs play a crucial role in providing tailored Internet services, offering customized solutions that cater to the specific needs of businesses and consumers, ensuring reliable and efficient connectivity within specific geographic areas.
  • Tier 1 ISPs: These are the largest ISPs that own and manage vast networks of undersea cables, data centers, and terrestrial infrastructure. They interconnect through peering agreements, allowing data to flow freely across their networks without incurring transit fees.
  • Regional ISPs: These providers operate within specific regions but often have agreements with Tier 1 ISPs to extend their reach. They play a crucial role in ensuring last-mile connectivity and maintaining service quality in their regions.
  • Managed Service Providers (MSPs): Companies, like Expereo, offer managed Internet services that provide end-to-end management of global connectivity solutions. They help businesses navigate the complexities of working with multiple ISPs and ensure consistent performance across regions.

The key differences between local and Global Internet services

Understanding the differences between local and Global Internet services is essential for businesses aiming to optimize their connectivity solutions. 

Some of the key differences include:

Coverage: Local Internet services are confined to specific geographic areas, while Global Internet services provide coverage across multiple regions and countries. The latter is crucial for businesses with international operations.

Performance: Global Internet services are designed to offer consistent performance across different regions, ensuring that all branches and remote offices can access the same level of service. By contrast, local services may vary significantly in quality and speed.

Cloud application access: Each ISP, be they local, regional, or global, is connected differently to the Internet at large. This gives very different performance models to cloud applications. For instance, a local ISP can give amazing access to an in-country hosted cloud application, offering end-users great application performance. While the regional or global ISP may be better for access to the major cloud provider, but offers poor performing access to the local cloud.

Complexity: Deploying Global Internet solutions involves navigating a complex landscape of regulations, infrastructure, and service providers. Although typically simpler to manage, local Internet services cannot provide the reach and consistency required for global operations.

Cost: Global Internet services require extensive infrastructure and management which often amount to higher costs. However, due to the amount of expertise, complexity and operational resources, total costs will reduce by partnering with an agile MSP who offers reliable connectivity across multiple regions.

Flexibility and agility: Companies need increased agility in their networks and their network providers to move exit countries, increase bandwidth, flex and scale as they need to, etc. Local ISPs will find this more challenging than Global Internet providers who will have the reach to provision services in new regions as and when needed.

The Implications for business operations supported by Global Internet 

The implications of Global Internet connectivity for business operations are profound. Reliable Global Internet access enables businesses to:

Facilitate communication and collaboration: Seamless Internet connectivity ensures that employees, partners, and customers can communicate and collaborate effectively wherever they are. This is crucial for maintaining productivity and encouraging innovation.

Support cloud-based applications: Many business-critical applications are now hosted in the cloud. Reliable Global Internet connectivity ensures that these applications perform optimally, enabling businesses to leverage advanced technologies and improve operational efficiency.

Enhance customer experience: In today's digital age, customers expect fast and seamless online interactions. Reliable Internet connectivity is essential for providing a positive customer experience and maintaining competitive advantage.

Selecting multiple technologies: Having diverse Global Internet connectivity options on a site is vital for disaster recovery and business continuity planning. It ensures that businesses can maintain operations and access critical data and applications in the event of a local connectivity failure or other disruptions.

Expand market reach: Reliable Global Internet connectivity allows businesses to expand their market reach and tap into new opportunities. It enables them to operate efficiently in different regions and serve customers across the globe.

Global Internet connectivity is more than simply having access to the Internet. It's about enabling all parts of a multinational enterprise to operate efficiently, support critical applications, enhance customer experience, and maintain a competitive edge in the global market. 

Get Global Internet designed to take you faster to your digital future

As the world becomes increasingly interconnected, the importance of robust Global Internet connectivity will only continue to grow. Making it more and more important for businesses to invest in the right infrastructure and partners to support their international operations.

As a dedicated trusted advisor, we have the knowledge, expertise, and the insights to help

you imagine, choose, and deploy the Global Internet solutions you need everywhere to

connect, operate, and grow your business today and tomorrow. Get in touch today to discuss your needs.

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