Backbone Networks: Types & Uses

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Network Switching: Definition & Types

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:04 What Is a Backbone Network?
  • 1:04 Serial Backbone
  • 1:34 Distributed Backbone
  • 2:02 Collapsed Backbone
  • 2:35 Parallel Backbone
  • 3:18 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Lyna Griffin

Lyna has tutored undergraduate Information Management Systems and Database Development. She has a Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering and a Masters degree in Information Technology.

In this lesson, we'll learn what backbone networks are and explore their various uses and the infrastructure necessary when implementing the different types.

What Is a Backbone Network?

The word 'backbone' means the most important part of a system that provides the core support for the rest of the system. Like the backbone of the human body that holds and balances all the body parts together, the same holds true for networks.

A backbone network is a network containing a high capacity connectivity infrastructure that forms the main link, or backbone, to the different parts of the network. The network consists of various LANs, WANs, and sub networks. The connectivity may cover a local area within a building or vicinity or may have a global outreach that spans vast geographical areas. The backbone has a capacity that far exceeds that of the individual networks connected to it.

A backbone network normally consists of cabling, switches, bridges, routers, and gateways in varying segments. Individual nodes do not connect directly to the backbone but do so through their LANs and ISPs or larger organizational infrastructures.

Let's examine the different networks that can be integrated with backbone technology:

Serial Backbone

The serial backbone consists of two or more connected devices or nodes linked to each other via a single cable in series that connects to an extension to the network. It's the most simple of all backbone architecture but is rarely used for enterprise-level network topologies because of its high susceptibility to faults and system downtime. If a link between routers becomes faulty, the whole network may get disrupted, as there are no alternate data transmission routes. Therefore, this type is only used in small network setups.

Distributed Backbone

The distributed backbone network comprises a hierarchical formation of devices that are adaptable to multiple connectivity. For example, if multiple devices are connected to switches, these form the intermediary devices connecting to the backbone router and gateway devices.

The distributed backbone network, unlike the serial backbone network, is well suited for enterprise-wide connectivity. Expanding and troubleshooting the network is simple, as layers of the network are easily added and managed.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account