Internet Network Example

Here's an example. Imagine that Company A is a large ISP. In each major city, Company A has a POP. The POP in each city is a rack full of modems that the ISP's customers dial into. Company A leases fiber optic lines from the phone company to connect the POPs together (see, for example, this UUNET Data Center Connectivity Map).

Imagine that Company B is a corporate ISP. Company B builds large buildings in major cities and corporations locate their Internet server machines in these buildings. Company B is such a large company that it runs its own fiber optic lines between its buildings so that they are all interconnected.

In this arrangement, all of Company A's customers can talk to each other, and all of Company B's customers can talk to each other, but there is no way for Company A's customers and Company B's customers to intercommunicate. Therefore, Company A and Company B both agree to connect to NAPs in various cities, and traffic between the two companies flows between the networks at the NAPs.

In the real Internet, dozens of large Internet providers interconnect at NAPs in various cities, and trillions of bytes of data flow between the individual networks at these points. The Internet is a collection of huge corporate networks that agree to all intercommunicate with each other at the NAPs. In this way, every computer on the Internet connects to every other.