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Internet Network Topology

The Internet network topology is a slowly changing web with thousands of lines and even more inter-connections. The overall Internet architecture is described on the architecture page. The near real-time network topology of the Internet -- how it is connected and put together in practice -- can be viewed at a range of online resources, some of which are listed below.

Internet Exchange Points. The communications traffic on the Internet backbone is exchanged at large Internet Exchange Points (IXP), sometimes called Network Access Points (NAP) or Metropolitan Area Exchanges (MAE), constituting the top level of the Internet network topology. The first five large NAP's in North America were established in the 1990's in Chicago, New Jersey, San Francisco, San Jose, and Washington, D.C. The following sites maintain current indexes of IXPs, many of which provide statistics and graphs of the performance of their major nodes:

Data sources. The following sites provide a range of maps, graphs, graphics, and statistics about the Internet network topology:

Resources. The following references provide more information about the Internet network topology:

  • You can find numerical information about the network topology of the Internet at several of the sites listed in the statistics and traffic statistics sections.
  • RFC 3684; R. Ogier, F. Templin, M. Lewis; Topology Dissemination Based on Reverse-Path Forwarding (TBRPF); February 2004.