IP Transit vs Transport - Full Span Solutions

IP Transit vs Transport

IP transit vs transport services are terms tossed around a lot in the ISP and network worlds, but what do they mean exactly?  Why are the two often mixed up?  Both terms pertain to data transmission and communication, but they operate in distinctive ways.  This article aims to elucidate the dissimilarities between IP transit and IP transport, shedding light on their functionalities and benefits. 

IP Transit: Navigating the Digital Highway

IP transit can be likened to a digital highway that facilitates the movement of data packets between various networks. It is a service provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) that allows data traffic from one network to traverse their network and access destinations on different networks. This enables seamless global connectivity and efficient data exchange between geographically dispersed networks.

IP transit is analogous to a toll road, where ISPs charge a fee for permitting data packets to traverse their network and reach their intended destinations. This service is particularly valuable for enterprises, data centers, and content providers aiming to establish robust connectivity to a multitude of networks across the internet.

IP Transport: Delivering Data Across a Network

On the other hand, IP transport focuses on the movement of data packets within a single network or between closely connected networks. It involves the physical transmission of data packets from one point to another, often utilizing various technologies like Ethernet, MPLS (Multiprotocol Label Switching), or leased lines. IP transport is like the internal roadways within a city, enabling data to flow efficiently within a confined area.

Unlike IP transit, which involves accessing external networks, IP transport remains confined within a specific network infrastructure. This makes it suitable for businesses seeking to optimize their internal communication and data exchange processes.

Key Differences and Benefits

  1. Scope: IP transit operates on a larger scale, facilitating connectivity between disparate networks globally. IP transport, however, focuses on localized data transmission within or between closely connected networks.
  2. Purpose: IP transit is essential for businesses requiring extensive network reach and interconnectivity. IP transport is beneficial for companies aiming to enhance internal communication and data sharing.
  3. Cost Structure: IP transit typically involves cost based on data volume or bandwidth consumption due to its external network access. IP transport costs are typically fixed, as it primarily deals with internal network transmission.
  4. Performance: IP transit might involve routing complexities as data traverses multiple networks. IP transport, being confined, can offer more predictable and controlled data transmission.

Transport vs Transit Examples:

Dedicated Internet Access

In our DIA Design Guide, we talk about the “loop” and “port”.  The loop is the transport within the network.  IP transit services are available at the port and are transported to a customer’s location via the loop. 

Layer 2 Services

Layer 2 services such as an EPL or EVPL would be considered transport.  They transport packets within a network but do not transit between networks.  At Full Span Solutions we often get a lot of quote requests for L2 transport services through our quoting tool.

SD-WAN Underlay

In an SD-WAN network, the site-to-site traffic is encrypted and transported between sites on an underlay service such as MPLS, DIA or business broadband.  Because these services transport the tunneled overlay traffic, they are considered the transport. 

IP Transit Services

An ISP network will peer with numerous upstream service providers.  These providers could offer a direct route to a destination, or they could be just one step along the way.  An IP transit network will connect multiple networks together giving this ISP the ability to pass along traffic it doesn’t otherwise know what to do with.  The transit network will ultimately have a path to the destination or send it on to another network that will.  


In conclusion, the distinction between IP transit and IP transport is paramount to understanding networks. While IP transit serves as a gateway to global connectivity, IP transport optimizes localized data transmission within networks. 

Still, have questions?  We can help!  Connect with us to talk through all your IP transit, transport, and other connectivity questions!