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Point of presence (POP)

Point of presence (POP)

Point of presence definition

Point of presence (POP) refers to a physical location where the internet service provider (ISP) connects to its customers. It typically contains a number of network devices, such as routers, switches, and servers.

Where can POPs be located:

  • Data centers. Many POPs are located in data centers, either owned by the ISP or a third-party provider. Data centers provide a secure and reliable environment for hosting network equipment.
  • Telecommunications facilities. POPs can also be located in telecommunications facilities, such as central offices or exchange buildings since they often have existing network infrastructure.
  • Network hubs. POPs can be located in network hubs, such as internet exchange points (IXPs) or carrier hotels. These locations provide a central point for interconnecting multiple service providers and exchanging network traffic.

How physical POPs differ from virtual POPs

  • Physical infrastructure. A POP requires physical network devices that are located in a specific physical location. In contrast, a virtual POP (vPOP) is a software-defined network (SDN) technology that enables network extension to multiple locations without the need for physical infrastructure.
  • Scalability. A vPOP is easier to scale up or down.
  • Cost. A vPOP can be cheaper to build as it requires less physical infrastructure than POPs.
  • Performance. POPs provide a more direct connectivity to customers, so they usually perform better.

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