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An Internet backbone refers to one of the principal data routes between large, strategically interconnected networks and core routers on the Internet. An Internet backbone is a very high-speed data transmission line that provides networking facilities to relatively small but high-speed Internet service providers all around the world.
Internet backbones are the largest data connections on the Internet. They require high-speed bandwidth connections and high-performance servers/routers. Backbone networks are primarily owned by commercial, educational, government and military entities because they provide a consistent way for Internet service providers (ISPs) to keep and maintain online information in a secure manner.
Some of the largest companies running different parts of the Internet backbone include UUNET, AT&T, GTE Corp. and Sprint Nextel Corp. Their routers are connected with high-speed links and support different range options like T1, T3, OC1, OC3 or OC48.
A few key features of an Internet backbones include:
The first Internet backbone was named NSFNET. It was funded by the U.S. government and introduced by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in 1987. It was a T1 line that consisted of approximately 170 smaller networks operated at 1.544 Mbps. The backbone was a combination of fiber-optic trunk lines, each of which had several fiber-optic cables wired together to increase capacity.