A core network is the infrastructure that connects together the different networks that make up your computer system, and is an essential part of any successful IT infrastructure.
How important is the core network?
A core network is also known as a backbone network because it’s the essential backbone on which all of your data is transferred.
If your core network fails, the various parts of your computer system lose access to your data and the data cannot be accessed by staff or customers. Your core network keeps your computer system connected to prevent this downtime from occurring, so it’s important that it is reliable and able to keep you online 24/7.
Core networks cover a large area, often connecting systems in different cities. Because of this core networks are made up of sophisticated equipment and their infrastructure is specially designed.
In the same way that a motorway allows a car to travel quickly, your core network needs to have enough capacity and reliability to allow data to travel quickly between the locations of your computer system.
How does a core network fit into the wider network?
A typical network design is usually broken down into three layers:
- The Access Layer is how devices connect to the network, and it controls which devices are allowed to connect.
- The Distribution Layer controls the flow of network traffic before it goes to the core layer, using policies and routing functions defined at the access layer.
- The Core Layer then provides a path for the information transfer between various sub-networks. It normally consists of powerful routers, switches capable of forwarding large amounts of data quickly, and high-speed links.
The core layer is made of so much equipment because it connects to multiple sites and has resiliency built in.
Having a properly equipped core layer is important because it is responsible for:
- Providing high-speed switching and routing (for fast transport)
- Acting as a gateway for accessing other networks and the Internet
- Providing reliability and fault tolerance
- And Supporting overlay network services
Core networks can achieve their high-speed transfers by using fibre-optic cables; glass tubes which use light to send signals. Fibre-optic cables are faster, thinner, and can cover a greater distance than traditional copper cabling.
And by using different wavelengths of light (effectively different light colours) a single fibre-optic cable can carry several different signals at once.
Access a top-quality core network you don’t have to build yourself
If you’re struggling to keep all of your employees and computer networks connected, especially in this new work-from-home era, you need to upgrade your core network. This doesn’t mean you need to be laying fibre-optic cables from your London headquarters out to all of your other offices.
Data centres are plugged into extensive core networks so that they can provide their customers with excellent connectivity, and you can take advantage of that by storing your servers in a data centre with colocation services.