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Regina, SK

What is a Tier 1, 2 and 3 service provider?


I was wondering if anyone can tell me how cable operators are divided into the different tiers?



Fairfield CT
·Optimum Online
From Wikipidia:

"Although there is no authority that defines tiers of networks participating in the Internet, the most common definition of a tier 1 network is one that can reach every other network on the Internet without purchasing IP transit or paying settlements.

Tier 2: A network that peers with some networks, but still purchases IP transit or pays settlements to reach at least some portion of the Internet.

Tier 3: A network that solely purchases transit from other networks to reach the Internet. "

From Smart Computing:

"Tier 1 ISPs are large national or international ISPs. They are directly connected to the Internet backbone and can be considered part of the backbone itself. They have the highest speed connections and very reliable networks. Their customers are either lower-tiered ISPs or large companies that are looking for a very reliable and fast access to the Internet. A major advantage of purchasing service from a tier 1 ISP is if there is a problem with access, only one company is involved, so solving the problem is that much easier. Sprint is a tier 1 ISP.

Tier 2 ISPs purchase their Internet service from a tier 1 ISP. Tier 2 ISPs tend to cover a specific region. They focus on business customers and have lower quality networks and slower access than tier 1 ISPs.

Tier 3 ISPs also purchase their Internet service from tier 1 ISPs. Tier 3 ISPs tend to focus on the retail market, and they also tend to cover a specific region. Network quality and access speed are relatively low. Prices are much lower than for tier 2 or tier 1 ISPs."
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Regina, SK
Thanks for responding.

Those tier definitions are for ISPs. Will they be the same for cable operators?

There's sand in my tool bag

1 edit
Cable operators are ISP's.

Most Cable MSO's are Tier 2 providers, with a few of the largest being considered Tier 1.


From Ezine articles :
Tier-1 is a network in which only settlement free peers and customers are serviced. The network operator pays for none of it's transit.

Tier-2 is where the network operator buys all or some of it's transit from a Tier-1 and resells it.

Tier-3 are downstream customers of Tier-2's. Tier-3 may give you what looks like a good price.....but longterm reliability, performance, and scalability will likely suffer. For piece of mind for your business a Tier-1 or Tier-2 are better choices is almost every case. However, PowerNet Global is a big exception to this rule due to their solid infrastructure and relationships with major players.

I hope it would help.

»utahcabledeals.wetpaint.com/page ···

I gave her time to steal my mind away
San Jose, CA
·Pacific Bell - SBC
reply to beachintech
Which cable MSOs are considered, "Tier 1"? Which of the following are cable MSOs?

• AT&T Services, Inc.
• Global Crossing, Ltd.
• Level 3 Communications.
• NTT Communications Corp.
• Qwest Communications International, Inc.
• Savvis, Inc.
• Sprint Nextel Corp.
• Tata Communications, Ltd.
• TeliaSonera International Carrier.
• Tinet.
• Verizon Business (UUNet).

Just curious who considers what a "Tier 1" network.
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