Most of us know the Internet as something we experience through the screens of our phones and laptops, but the Internet exists as a physical space as well. If you’re picturing high-security buildings filled with miles and miles of wiring, then you’re exactly right.

“Carrier hotels” is the name given to buildings where many networks are brought together to form one (a.k.a. the Internet). This allows unlimited internet service providers—like AT&T and Verizon—to converge into a single, greater network. The process is made possible by masses of cables linked to rows of servers, all being cooled by large HVAC systems to prevent overheating.

Most people don't consider the journeys their tweets, memes, and messages have to take to reach the World Wide Web. In order to shed light on the inner workings of the Internet, Brooklyn-based photographer Peter Garritano captured the insides of five such hubs around New York City. Gaining the access to do so was no easy task: security in these facilities is incredibly strict, with guards, biometric security checkpoints, and even man traps hidden throughout. Once inside, Garritano was able to record a side of the internet few people see. You can check out his images of the building interiors below.

All images courtesy of Peter Garritano.

[h/t: WIRED]