A network backbone connects multiple networks together, allowing them to communicate with each other.
Discrete networks have several ways of “talking” with each other. If you have two separate networks, say between two “Points-of-Presence” (PoP) locations, they can send traffic over the public Internet, establish encrypted tunnels over the public Internet, or link together via a dedicated physical circuit which only connects between them.
StackPath uses dedicated physical circuits, also known as “dark fiber,” between its PoPs. This results in higher performance, better security, greater operational flexibility, and serves as one of the cornerstones of the StackPath platform. Current services utilize it and future services will continue to be built on top of it.
The nature of the public Internet is that each network (such as a network transit provider) can pass off traffic meant for another network. So Network A can send traffic to Network C via an intermediate network, Network B.
When a content delivery company like StackPath has a private network backbone, it can bypass any intermediary network that’s part of the public Internet to deliver that content directly over long distances. And, since time losses accrue with every network the content has to cross over, fewer networks means faster data transfer.
An example of a network backbone service is StackPath’s Origin Shield. Here, one or more PoPs may be designated as an intermediate cache. On a cache miss from any individual PoP, that request is forwarded on first to the designated Origin Shield PoP before the Origin Shield makes a request to the origin.
This allows for a tremendous de-duplication in the number of requests made to the origin, reducing both the size and cost of that origin. All of these PoP-to-PoP intermediary requests flow over the network backbone, uninterrupted and quick.