Backbone infrastructure is the modern equivalent major highways — it connects communities across Canada to each other. Backbone infrastructure does not connect directly to households. 'Last-mile' infrastructure connects directly to households (see below). It is often fibre optic-based, but can comprise a range of technologies including microwave and satellite service.
Broadband is an always-on, high-speed Internet connection. Broadband can be delivered over a variety of technologies, such as DSL, fibre optic, cable, fixed wireless, or satellite technologies.
Fibre optic cables carry Internet signals over glass filaments to provide fast connections. Fibre is also used as backbone infrastructure to move large amounts of data to and from communities.
Fixed wireless networks use radio transmitters with elevated antennas (like towers) to communicate with customers within range. Fixed wireless networks are typically used with permanently-mounted antennas at the client sites.
Last-mile infrastructure can be compared to local roads and driveways — it brings Internet access from the backbone infrastructure (the highway) to households or small businesses through wired or wireless technologies, such as cable, digital subscriber line (DSL), fixed wireless or satellite. A portion of Connect to Innovate program funds support "last-mile" connectivity projects to households, at speeds of at least 5 Megabits per second (Mbps), where gaps continue to persist.
Microwave technology uses a high capacity microwave radio link to provide backbone connections between points in a network.
Point of presence (PoP)
A site in a network that is an interconnection point to connect a backbone network to a last mile network. Wholesale services are offered from these locations for Internet Service Providers.
Customers use a dish antenna and transceiver to establish two-way communication with a satellite. Satellite can also be used as backbone to provide service to communities where terrestrial connections are not possible.