Glossary definition of Backbone

Backbone is the name given to that section of a communications network which is designed to carry the bulk of the traffic.

Backbones are typically sets of wire lines, radio links, or fibre-optic cables that connect one local network to another, or one regional network to another. Backbone networks are of necessity high-speed, wide bandwidth connection paths, designed to cope with the high-density of traffic that is designed to flow through them. The points of interconnection in the network are called 'nodes'.

Subscribers do not usually have direct access to a backbone, as access is controlled by the telephone Service Provider or Internet Service Provider.