What’s the Difference Between a Data Center and a PoP?

November 10, 2020

At TeknaByte we understand that while the terms “data center” and “point-of-presence (PoP)” are often used interchangeably, there are distinct differences between the two. When it comes to delivering online services, data centers and PoPs are considered central components.

Today, in an effort to not only explain the difference between a data center and a point-of-presence but also to tell you more about the importance of each, TeknaByte has organized the following article. In order to keep your business operating efficiently with network access to the Internet for all of your employees, it’s important to understand the difference between the two. With that, let’s get started!

What is a Data Center?

In order to fully understand the difference between a data center and a point-of-presence, it’s important that you have an understanding of each and how they work. Put simply, a data center is a centralized location where both computing and networking equipment is concentrated for various purposes. A few of these purposes include collecting, storing, distributing, or allowing access to large amounts of data. Since the invention of computers, data centers have always existed in one form or another and play a valuable role when it comes to computer networking.

Due to their high concentration of individual servers (which are often stacked in racks and placed in rows), data centers are sometimes referred to as server farms They provide very important services for businesses, including data storage, backup and recovery, networking, and data management. Not only can these centers store and serve up websites, but they can also provide cloud storage and applications, run e-mail and instant messaging services, and enable e-commerce transactions.

Just about every business and government entity either needs its own data center or direct access to someone else’s. While some businesses build and maintain these data centers in-house, some opt to rent servers at co-location facilities and use public cloud-based services instead.

What is a Point-of-Presence (PoP)?

Now that you understand what a data center is and how it works, let’s talk about a point-of-presence (PoP). A PoP is not just one single item, system, or device, but rather a collection of telecommunications technologies and equipment that work to allow users to access the Internet. There are various types of equipment involved in a PoP ranging from routers and aggregators to Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM) switches. PoPs are typically known for housing the facility node or switching system of the interexchange carrier that is using it, such as Sprint or AT&T.

So how does a PoP work exactly? To explain this, start by thinking about all of the content that is delivered each day over a content distribution network (CDN) There’s websites, images, videos, and more. These amounts can be staggering, and all of that data needs to be distributed at a speed that doesn’t prove detrimental to your business’s everyday operations. This is why a PoP acts as a local cache for all of a CDN’s data: to increase the speed at which content is distributed.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Now that you know what a data center and PoP is and you know a bit more about how each of them work, you’re likely wondering what the difference is between the two. This can be explained fairly easily. Speaking generally, a PoP may refer to a company having a single server presence in a specific location while a data center likely refers to a location that houses multiple servers. This is why, when referring to multiple PoPs housed in a single location, many people simply use the term “data center” in order to indicate a location in which many servers are maintained. This is the reason that these terms are often used interchangeably, which can cause a bit of confusion for business owners.

The IT Support and Services You’re Looking For!

Now that you understand the difference between a data center and a point-of-presence, it’s likely that you have an idea of which one fits your company best. With so much content distributed across your business’s content distribution network (CDN) on a daily basis, you can’t afford downtime due to network disturbances. If you’re looking for a team of IT professionals that offers managed IT services built to keep your business running at its best, look no further than TeknaByte!

At TeknaByte, our IT professionals have years of experience and prioritize the success of your business over all else. Whether your company has experienced periods of downtime brought on by computer or network problems or simply don’t like how much your organization is paying to keep your IT up and running, TeknaByte is here to produce real and lasting results. Offering managed IT services, managed cloud services, IT consulting and staffing, cybersecurity, and software and application development, there’s no better choice!

Contact us today by giving us a call at (317) 620-3900, or use our online contact form to reach out with any questions or concerns. We’ll be happy to help!


TeknaByte is an IT Consulting & Managed IT Services firm in Indianapolis that provides quick, high-quality, and effective managed IT services to businesses everywhere.
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