An Internet Service Provider (ISP) is a company that provides access to the internet. Wherever you may be, every time you connect to internet, your connection is routed through an ISP.
In the beginning, dial-up modems were used by ISPs to grant internet connection. Regular phone lines were utilised during this time and speed was up to 56 Kbps only. During the late 1990s, cable modems and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) were used by ISPs to offer faster internet access. Today, fibre optic cables are used by some ISPs to offer high-performance fibre connections. Cable connections are being provided by popular companies like Comcast and Time Warner while DSL Internet access is being provided by AT&T and Verizon.
To link to an ISP, you need an active account with your ISP and a working modem. Connect the modem to the telephone line or cable outlet, depending on your ISP, in order to link with your ISP. Upon verification of your account, the ISP assigns your modem an IP address. You are connected to the Internet once you have an IP address. You can use a router to link several devices to the Internet. A router can be separate device or a built-in router in the modem. Since the devices are routed through the same modem, they will all utilise the same public IP address allocated by the ISP.
Most of the time, ISPs are linked straight to the Internet framework, thus they act as hubs on the Internet. High bandwidth connection to the internet is needed by the ISPs due to the huge amount of traffic they manage. ISPs usually upgrade their existing lines and add new lines so that they can offer faster speeds to customers.
An ISP is a company that offers individuals and other companies connection to the Internet and services such as virtual hosting and website building. An ISP has the tools and the telecommunication line access needed to have a point-of-presence on the Internet for the geographic location supplied. Bigger ISPs have their own high-speed rented lines so that they are less reliant on the telecommunication vendors and can offer better service to their customers. AT&T WorldNet, MCI, IBM Global Network and Netcom are some of the largest ISPs in the nation and in the region.
ISPs also include regional providers such as New England’s NEARNet and the San Francisco Bay area BARNet. Online service providers (OSP) also provide internet access to user, examples are AOL and CompuServe.
The larger ISPs link with each other through Metropolitan Area Exchange (MAE) or similar centres. They do peering arrangements to exchange traffic.
An ISP is also sometimes called an IAP (Internet Access Provider). At times, ISP is used as an acronym for independent service provider to differentiate an independent, separate service provider from a telephone company.
Types of ISPs
Here are some ISPs used worldwide:
- Access provider ISP – offers internet access using a spread of technologies to connect users to their network.
- Mailbox provider ISP – provides email servers in order to transmit, accept and save emails.
- Hosting ISP – offers the services and facilities: email, cloud service, online storage services, physical server operation, virtual server and web hosting.
- Transit ISP – provides huge amount of transmission in order to link access and hosting ISPs.
- Virtual ISP – is an ISP that obtains services from another ISP, which lets the VISP’s customers to connect to the internet using infrastructure and facilities owned and managed by the wholesale ISP.
- Free ISP – is an ISP that offers services for free. They usually show advertisements while the user is accessing the internet.
- Wireless ISP – is an internet service provider based on wireless network technology.