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What is meant when something is referred to as "tier 1"?

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Quick Answer

Referring to something as "tier 1" has several meanings depending on the context of the discussion, but it generally describes something in terms of its importance or as having a superior quality or ranking. In manufacturing, a tier 1 company is a direct supplier to an original equipment manufacturer.

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Full Answer

A tier 1 university at one time referred to one that was ranked among the top 50 by the U.S. News College Rankings for National Universities, but it now refers to any university that is ranked in any given category.

In Internet terminology, a tier 1 network is one that can connect freely with any other network or the Internet without paying settlement fees or purchasing IP transit, a fee paid by smaller ISPs to cross other networks to gain Internet access.

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