The Power of Access PoPs
Network Resiliency and Cost Efficiency

By: Jade Kerr

With the ubiquity of IP networking, innovative approaches aimed at improving network resiliency, scalability, security, performance, and cost efficiencies have become a central focus of Internet Service Providers (ISPs). One area of innovation influencing how ISPs are architecting their networks is making the strategic shift from large Points of Presence (PoPs) to deploying Access PoPs as a more effective and efficient design. This new concept not only bolsters network resilience, but also reduces operational costs, offering a win-win solution for ISPs and their customers.

PoPs — a defined location where servers are housed and interconnected with other providers — are integral to telecommunications and the IT ecosystem, as they function as strategic hubs in network infrastructure, aggregating data traffic, connecting different networks, applying intelligent functionality and automation, and reducing latency. PoPs enable efficient data transmission, facilitate network resilience through redundancy by interconnecting with multiple providers in a single location, and offer the ability to cache and accelerate content delivery, cloud access, and much more. This is truly a vital role in network scalability as it allows telecommunications providers to adapt to changing demands and expand their services. Typically, ISP PoPs are distributed across various locations to provide robust and resilient regional coverage, contributing to the accessibility and availability of telecommunications services. Their role in network monitoring, data security, interconnection, and cost-efficiency make them a pivotal part of providing a reliable and secure telecommunications platform.

Taking lessons from the backbone Internet operators across the U.S., ISPs, CSPs, and large enterprise businesses can apply industry best practices to take greater control of their networks by deploying Access PoPs as well. The same benefits of improved network performance, scalability, security, and more apply, bringing scalability and privacy to the forefront of digital infrastructure operations for nearly any business. ISPs have traditionally relied on large PoPs to facilitate their network operations. While large PoPs may serve their purpose effectively in the initial stages of network development, they often become stumbling blocks as the network expands, as they can be costly to maintain and challenging to scale. This ultimately leads to potential service disruptions and inefficiencies.

Enterprise businesses that understand the various network architectures of the ISPs that serve them tend to benefit. Companies that recognize resiliency, redundancy, diversity, and distributed architectures know the questions to ask, the routes to review (e.g., requesting KMZs), and take a deep dive look “under the hood,” so to speak, to assess service capabilities and ensure the greatest amount of uptime for their digital business needs.

As a result, ISPs and their end-user customers realize that Access PoPs provide a more agile approach to network infrastructure. Core PoPs that sit as central hubs for a network operator can leverage Access PoPs that serve as smaller, more strategically positioned locations to extend network reach while also creating resilient network “rings,” which ensure uninterrupted connectivity even in the face of common disruptions. Access PoPs act as distributed nodes that work in conjunction with larger existing PoPs — typically core PoP locations — forming a network that is not only more resilient, but also flexible and efficient. ISPs can strategically place these Access PoPs to create even more redundancy within their network. This ensures that if one segment of the network is compromised due to a fiber cut or other issues, data traffic can automatically reroute through alternative paths, minimizing service disruptions. This enhanced resilience is invaluable in ensuring consistent connectivity for both residential and business users, directly impacting an ISP’s credibility as a service provider to be trusted.

Organizations that understand this underlying architecture can work with their ISPs to take advantage of these benefits. For instance, they can leverage Access PoPs to provide better localized connectivity to the Internet, cloud services, and other data packet-heavy applications such as content, AI/ML and more. With today’s reliance on data and access to the public and private cloud, they, too, must leverage more sophisticated solutions to manage the data exchange between business locations and endpoints to improve network performance and reliability. 

For ISPs, Access PoPs also lend themselves to more efficient network segmentation. This functionality not only enhances the quality of service but also minimizes the risk of complete service disruption. For instance, network segmentation allows ISPs to isolate issues to specific network segments, resolving problems more swiftly while ensuring a higher quality of service for end-users and, ultimately, a better customer experience. In the odd case that a disruption does happen, taking the approach of Access PoPs


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