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Intelligent network

(also smart network, IN)

Intelligent network definition

An intelligent network (IN) refers to a telecommunications network framework engineered to streamline and automate a wide range of network services and operations. By decoupling service-related functions from the core network infrastructure, intelligent networks facilitate the swift creation, implementation, and administration of new services without requiring substantial changes to the current network. Boasting high adaptability, these networks empower operators to deliver supplementary services while managing diverse communication modes, including voice, data, and multimedia.

Intelligent network examples

  • Advanced toll-free services: Intelligent networks enable the implementation of advanced toll-free numbers, which can route calls based on criteria like time of day, location, or caller ID.
  • Virtual private networks (VPNs): INs facilitate the creation and management of VPNs, which encrypt data and allow users to connect securely to remote networks over the internet.
  • Unified messaging systems: Intelligent networks support unified messaging, which integrates different communication methods, such as email, voicemail, and fax, into a single interface.

Comparing intelligent networks to traditional networks

Traditional networks are built to handle specific communication types and have limited flexibility. In contrast, intelligent networks are adaptable and can accommodate new services without extensive network reconfigurations.

Pros and cons of intelligent networks


  • Faster service deployment.
  • Improved network efficiency.
  • Enhanced service customization and personalization.
  • Streamlined network management.


  • Higher initial investment in hardware and software.
  • Increased network complexity.
  • Potential challenges in interoperability between different vendors' equipment.

Tips for leveraging intelligent networks:

  • Work with experienced network architects to design and implement IN solutions.
  • Ensure your network infrastructure is compatible with IN technologies and protocols.
  • Regularly update and maintain your intelligent network to ensure optimal performance and security.