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.