IP networks work with the IP protocol and data packet switching. They consist of subnetworks that are connected via routers or switches to the actual backbone network, which represents the communications infrastructure. The subnets, the autonomous systems( AS), are interconnected via core gateways. The backbone can be the Internet or another IP-based network.
The connection area of the IP networks, i.e. the area to the customer, is essentially formed by two nodes: the broadcast network gateway (BNG) and the connection node. While the broadcast network gateway assumes the function of aggregation and is connected to the connection node, the latter assumes the connection to the customer's connection socket.
Due to the enormous flexibility of IP networks, in which the quality of service( QoS) can be defined and different forms of communication and services can be combined via IP convergence, the IP network is also used as a backbone for time-critical and real-time applications. The development shows the transformation of the classic IP network to an all-IP network with a comprehensive IP service offering with Internet telephony( VoIP), time division multiplexing over IP( TDMoIP), IP storage( SoIP), Fibre Channel over IP( FCIP), with computer telephony integration( CTI), streaming media, Internet television ( IPTV), video-over-IP and in the mobile sector with mobile IP.
The IP network forms the basis for convergent network architectures, and is also a component of Next Generation Networks( NGN). One example of an IP network is the Internet.