Internet Service (Carrier) Provider Tiers - Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3

Internet Service (Carrier) Provider Tiers – Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3

Today, almost half of the world’s population accesses the internet everyday and the online space is not a new phenomenon. The Internet or “Net” stands for Interconnection of Computer Networks and is a connected community of servers and networks. But what is the difference between the Service Provider (Carrier) Tiers?

What is Tier 1, Tier 2 or Tier 3?

Tier 1 Service Provider: Tier-1 carriers are the “movers and shakers” of the Industry. Tier 1 Service Providers owns networks, which does not purchase transit service from any other network, and therefore peers with every other Tier 1 network to maintain global reachability. They are the biggest providers geographically, but not always the number of customers point of view.

Tier 2 Service Provider: A network with transit connections , customers and some peering, but that still buys transit service from Tier 1 Providers to reach some portion of the Internet.

Tier 3 Service Provider: A stub network, typically without any transit customers, and without any peering relationships. They generally purchase transit Internet connection from Tier 2 Service Providers, sometimes even from the Tier 1 Providers as well.

Benefits Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 Service Provider

Benefit from Tier 1 Service Providers

Tier-1 provicers can be an advantage when it comes to handling DDoS attacks: if you ask/configure your Tier-1 provider to null-route an IP they will implement the null-route at their borders, so there is no point of saturation.

Benefit from Tier 2 Service Providers

Tier-2’s are usually smaller companies, and are better able to “make deals”, or recognize bundling of contracts (Blended IP), write custom SLAs (Service Level Agreements), trench fiber to your location in exchange for that signed contract, etc. Unless you buy multiple gigabits from your upstreams, if you want to bundle contracts with Tier-1s, you will probably end-up doing it through a wholesaler or other buying mechanism.

Benefit from Tier 3 Service Providers

When you hear people talk about net neutrality, this is why. Tier-3 carriers are usually last mile providers, meaning they connect consumers to the internet without a network of their own.

What is IP Transit And Who Uses It?

Unlike the connectivity used by individuals to access the Internet, such as dedicated Internet access or mass market broadband, IP transit is a special way of accessing the Internet. It does not only allow the subscriber to access the Internet, but also allow Internet traffic to pass through or “transit” through their equipment. Once your network is connected by IP transit, it becomes a constituent of the Internet – one of the network that makes up the network of networks.

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