Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Internet Exchange Points (IXPs)

Several telecommunications mergers have occurred since the formation of the original NAPs resulting in many of the NAPs being owned by Verizon, who subsequently bought MCI. MCI owned a trademark on Metropolitan Area Exchanges (MAE), so you'll hear many of the Internet's NAPs also referred to as MAEs, i.e. MAE-West or MAE-East. But, not all NAPs were MAEs! Today, NAP is a legacy term only found in the history books and the huge infrastructure of access points to the Internet are called Internet Exchange Points (IXPs).

Telecommunications providers, Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, and the like, are big players on the Internet because they provide the connectivity between all those LANs, MANs and WANS. Follow the three links below to learn more about the Internet backbone providers. The first link leads you to a page of more links, this is Russ Haynal's Internet Map Collection. With all of the mergers between telecommunications companies lately, many of Haynai's links are now broken. The next two links give you an example of how large these telecommunication networks are.