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How to connect to the Internet backbone?

The Internet backbone is the global high-performance network core that connects major Tier-1 Internet providers.

These Tier-1 providers have extensive networks that span across the world and are responsible for the global flow of Internet traffic. The primary goal of the Internet backbone is to provide high-speed, high-capacity, reliable, and efficient connectivity between different points on the Internet. Thanks to a combination of different technologies and routing/switching strategies, network providers together with Internet Service Providers (ISPs) ensure that data packets travel through the shortest and fastest routes available at any given time.

Arelion has a leading position among Tier-1 providers with more than 30-years’ experience from building and operating its own Internet backbone, AS1299.

Connecting the Internet backbone

Optical fibers are the most common media for data transmission and connections between different Internet backbones. Satellite-based radio links and subsea cables are also deployed across long distances and where land-based optical cable connections are not feasible. Other important Internet backbone components are high-performance routers, switches and servers that play a crucial role in directing and managing the flow of data packets.

Internet backbones interconnect via so-called Points of Presence (PoPs) which are often located within or near Internet exchange points (IXes) in order to minimize distance and increase performance between different networks.

Having a direct connection to the Internet backbone is crucial for some customer groups and organizations, including ISPs, Cloud providers (data centers), hyperscalers and large enterprises.

While the actual connection process can be fairly straight-forward, some planning and decision-making steps can be time-consuming. These encompass everything from developing an interconnection strategy to selecting appropriate providers and IXPs, establishing peering agreements and implementing redundancy and appropriate security measures. On top of that regulatory compliance needs to be considered.

Every organization is unique, and so are their connectivity needs. 

How do you connect to Internet backbone?

In simple terms, there are two main options:

For organizations without the need for an AS number

Organizations without their own Autonomous System (AS) number will need to connect via an Internet Service Provider. An AS number is necessary for routing traffic between networks at the Internet core, and the Border Gateway Protocol (BGP) is used to announce IP address prefixes and network changes to the global Internet routing table. However, smaller to medium-sized entities or individual users don't have their own AS number and rely on more comprehensive Internet services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) or third-party networks with their own AS instead. This spares them the complexity and administrative overhead of maintaining their own AS number.

At Arelion, we provide a Dedicated Internet Access (DIA) solution tailored for this purpose. Our offering combines guaranteed bandwidth, and symmetrical bandwidth, with the management of customer IP addresses and oversight of the BGP routing environment. This ensures reliable, direct, and dedicated Internet access.

Organizations with their own AS number

Organizations with their own AS numbers can establish a resilient and direct link to the Internet with IP Transit and BGP routing. This affords them greater control of their network traffic and allows them to take full advantage of the reliability and scalability of their selected transit network provider(s).

For three decades, IP Transit has been the cornerstone of Arelion’s operations, establishing a one-hop connection to 95% of end-users in the US and Europe.

As a Tier-1 network provider, Arelion maintains direct connections with all other Tier-1 networks, enabling seamless access to any destination on the Internet without the need for intermediary providers. This ensures a swift and dependable network connection with minimal latency. By incorporating industry-leading practices, advanced systems, and well-crafted policies, we mitigate the risks associated with common routing issues such as BGP hijacks, route leaks, etc.

Arelion’s global Autonomous System, AS1299, is a purpose-built carrier-grade network with guaranteed reliability and maximized uptime. With a global routing table that minimizes hops, our connected IP customer base represents 70% of global Internet routes.

Our network

Spanning 75,000 km and serving customers in 125 countries, our backbone spans North America, Europe, and Asia. Fiber-up network control with cutting-edge optical and IP technology deliver the scalability you need, whenever you need it. And with customer experience at the heart of everything we do, we create a network experience so good, you won’t even know we’re here.


Explore our extensive network coverage with interactive maps, allowing you to make inquiries directly through the map. Download the static PoP Map for your region to keep it handy.

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