Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

Internet Service Provider (ISP)

A provider of Internet access (ISP) is an organization (usually a business) offering a connection to the Internet computer network. The English term denoting an ISP is Internet Service Provider (ISP) or Internet Access Provider (IAP).

Many telecommunications companies are also ISPs. With the explosion of the Internet bubble in the early 2000s, many ISPs have gone bankrupt or have had to adapt to survive (restructuring, merger, acquisition).

Equipment and technical (supplier)

The ISP equipment form one or more autonomous networks (known also for Autonomous System) and have full control of the architecture, design and organization of their connections.

Connecting the ISP to the Internet

In a similar way to a subscriber connects to the Internet through a provider of access, the ISP will connect its equipment to one (or several) providers who provide access to all other networks of Internet. In this case, one speaks of an offer of transit. Such a connection is still more complex, since routers will exchange operators and connections accessible by the other device. Moreover, such an offer is usually billed according flows exchanged.


Operators who have points of presence neighbors generally prefer to exchange their flow directly without going through their transit operator. This approach has 2 advantages: it reduces the cost (such exchanges are not charged), and improves performance (exchanges take a shorter route). It is then subject to exchange traffic (peering) and where it occurs is called the point of traffic exchange (peering point). This exchange is often graceful but where the exchange between two ISPs is unbalanced or that an operator is aggrieved, compensation can be implemented.

Levels of operators

Some operators – known as Level 1 operators – allow access to all Internet networks without financial compensation. It therefore have exchange agreements between each of them, and all networks connected to the Internet directly or indirectly connected to one of these operators via a transit or offer an agreement to exchange traffic.

These operators generally impose strong constraints on operators wishing to negotiate an agreement to exchange traffic. Indeed, such an operator – a potential customer offers transit – would become competitors.

Operators Level 3 does not provide transit service. Other operators are called Level 2: it depends on a supply of transit (or at least an agreement to exchange traffic fee) and in turn offer a range of transit.

Technology connection

Different types of access are possible, e.g., a PSTN access (Switched Telephone Network) is based on a modulation-demodulation (modem) that converts the binary digital information the computer analogue signal nickname on the passing lanes telecommunications (copper pair, satellite, fiber optics).

There are many types of Internet access, usually ordered by the age of technology and speed achievable:

* 56K Modem
* ISDN (Integrated Digital Network Services)
* Cable Modem
* Including xDSL ADSL
* T-carrier: T1, T2, T3
* Liaison satellite radio (mono or bi)


Some suppliers offer a roaming service ((en) roaming) to enable their customers to connect anywhere in the world through other providers. It is then possible to connect virtually everywhere in the world price of a local or national (not international).

Email & Mail-boxes

Most providers offer access to mail-boxes. Access to email is sometimes impossible if the access point is not that of the supplier, this is particularly true for the SMTP (outgoing mail), but not necessarily for the incoming mail.

Web Hosting

A provider may also offer some sort of web hosting, ranging from an account of a few MB to a dedicated server, and the user then places the web server in a secured and air conditioned rooms and benefiting from permanent access and broadband.

For more information about our web hosting services, visit our homepage.