Internet Network Operations Center

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What Does Internet Network Operations Center Mean?

Internet Network Operations Center (INOC) was a control facility that monitored and controlled all traffic passing through the core routers and gateways of the Internet.


In the early days of the Internet, INOC was a centralized facility owned by a group called Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, Inc (BBN). BBN was a Massachusetts-based company responsible for the development and maintenance of the INOC. BBN no longer exists today, nor does the centralized form of INOC.

A network operations center (NOC) is a physical location to control the operations of telecommunication networks, television broadcasting, computer networks, and other high-tech facilities like scientific research centers. NOCs are responsible for monitoring and controlling critical services, threats and alarms, errors, and even power issues in critical networks. An Internet NOC monitors and controls the routing traffic passing through the core destined to different geographic locations around the globe.

Techopedia Explains Internet Network Operations Center

When Internet was limited to large research, educational, and scientific organizations, a centralized INOC (maintained by BBN) managed the operations of the Internet. With the expansion of the Internet to the common user and the introduction of service providers and Internet access to areas all over the globe, it was no longer possible for a centralized INOC or other group to control and maintain the operations of the Internet. The centralized INOC idea was dropped and replaced by the idea of distributed INOCs, in the form of Internet Exchange Points (IXPs) and tier-1 ISPs.

Hundreds of IXPs work by providing a peer environment to the ISPs where the traffic between ISP borders is routed. These IXPs provide the physical infrastructure comprised of routers, switches, and other support equipment. They are the basis for traffic exchange between different ISPs operating 24/7.

Tier-1 ISPs, acting as the core of the Internet, have INOCs that route and control the traffic between lower-tier ISPs. Whether commercial or community-owned, all INOCs do the following:

  • Coordinate network troubles.
  • Provide problem management and router configuration services.
  • Manage network changes.
  • Allocate and manage domain names and IP addresses.
  • Monitor routers, switches, hubs, and uninterruptible power supply (UPS) systems that keep the network operating smoothly.
  • Coordinate with affiliated networks and ISPs.

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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert
Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.