What Is An Internet Service Provider? (ISP)

Written by Caitlin Davidson

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ISP Defined

An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is an industry term for the company that is providing a user with access to the Internet. An ISP is a users gateway to the Internet and everything else online. The second a connection is set up and activated, a user will be able to send emails, research, shop, use social media, among other things.

The ISP is the link or conduit between a user’s computer and all the other “servers” connected to or on the Internet. ISPs connect to one another by forming highway of communications. These highways usually consist of satellites, copper wire, or even fiber-optic media.

When traffic is routed from a users home network to the Internet, it goes through a number of hops before reaching its destination. This includes the traffic travelling from a users modem, to their Tier 3 ISP’s network, and then possibly, to a Tier 2 ISP’s network, and a Tier 1 ISP’s network,  and then back down through a different set of ISPs before reaching the destination.

In Data Defined, we help make the complex world of data more accessible by explaining some of the most complex aspects of the field.

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