PSTN Services

Today's Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) offers many different services, each with a desirable suite of features and functionality. Service providers (SPs) can offer competitive services, differentiate themselves, and generate revenue from these offerings. Many of these services are not currently available in packet voice networks. However, much work is being done to determine the best and most scalable way to add these and many new services and functions to packet voice networks.

From an external point of view—or in terms of what the end user can use—the current generation of digital switching systems offers similar, if not identical, functionality. This makes it difficult for SPs to differentiate among the offerings. Traditionally, most of the value-added software used with advanced services is bundled with the switch itself.

This chapter explains how PSTN offers services to consumers and business customers. It discusses ways corporations use different applications to drive their business and bottom-line profits, the main features of these applications, and how enterprise and PSTN networks work together. The following services are discussed:

• Plain old telephone service (POTS)

• Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN)

• Business services, including Virtual Private Networks (VPNs), Centrex, and call-center services

• SP services, including database and operator services

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