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Intelligent Networks

The term 'Intelligent Networks' is synonymous with telecoms networks, corporate networks and business intelligence alike.

Telecom Networks

Intelligent Networks [IN]are being used by both fixed and wireless telecommuncations operators as an overlay to the core network, and used to carry value-add services.

Corporate Networks

With virtualization, a wide range of intelligence capabilities are enhancing not only access to corporate networks, but also in the way applications are ported tot he user, and in storage of data.

Intelligent Information Networks

Intellgent Information Networks [IIN] are an overlay on the core corporate network, designed to carry enhanced business logic and business services, commonly known as BI or Business Intelligence Systems.

The Intelligent Network [IN] is a network architecture that overlays the core fixed or mobile telecommuncations networkto carry value-add differentiation services. This may include simple services such as:

  • Toll free calls
  • Prepaid calling
  • Private-number plans
  • Call screening

In IN, the intelligence is taken out of the switch and placed in computer nodes distributed throughout the network. This enables the network operator to develop and control services more efficiently. New capabilities can be rapidly introduced into the network. Once introduced, services are easily customized to meet individual customer's needs.

Key Benefits Of Intelligent Networks

There are several key benefits to Intelligent Networks:

  1. Introduce new services rapidly - IN provides the capability to provision new services or modify existing services throughout the network without physical intervention.
  2. Service customization - Customers are also demanding control of their own services to meet their individual needs. Service providers require the ability to change the service logic rapidly and efficiently to meet these needs.
  3. Vendor independence - to develop service capability and software quickly and inexpensively, suppliers must integrate commercially available software.
  4. Open interfaces - Open interfaces allow service providers to introduce third party network elements quickly for individualized customer services, while still maintaining stringent network operations standards. Service providers are no longer relying on one or two vendors to provide equipment and software.


IN Standards

The IN concepts, architecture and protocols were developed as standards by the ITU-T which is the standardization committee of the International Telecommunication Union. A set of ITU-T standards named Q.1210 to Q.1219, or Capability Set One (CS-1) was published, with further enhancements in CS-2.


Intelligent Networks Architecture

The IN services or architecture includes:

Service Switching Function (SSF) or Service Switching Point (SSP)

The SSF/SSP is co-located with the telephone exchange, and acts as the trigger point for further services to be invoked during a call.

The SSP implements the Basic Call State Machine (BCSM) which represents the call state [off hook; dialling; answer; no answer; busy; hang up etc].

As each state is traversed, the exchange encounters Detection Points (DPs) at which the SSP may invoke a query to the SCP to wait for further instructions on how to proceed.

This query is usually called a trigger. Trigger criteria are defined by the operator and might include the subscriber calling number or the dialled number.

Service Control Function (SCF) or Service Control Point (SCP)

The SCR/SCP is a separate set of platforms that receive queries from the SSP.

The SCP contains service logic which implements the behaviour desired by the operator.

During service logic processing, additional data required to process the call may be obtained from the SDF. The logic on the SCP is created using the SCE.

Service Data Function (SDF) or Service Data Point (SDP)

The SDF/SDP is a database that contains additional subscriber data, or other data required to process a call. For example, the subscribers prepaid credit which is remaining may be an item stored in the SDF to be queried in real time during the call.

The SDF may be a separate platform, or is sometimes co-located with the SCP.

Service Creation Environment (SCE)

The SCE is the development environment used to create the services present on the SCP. Standards permit any type of environment, although mostly proprietary graphical languages have been used to enable telecom engineers to create services directly.

Specialized Resource Function (SRF) or Intelligent Peripheral (IP)

The SRF/IP is a node which can connect to both the SSP and the SCP and delivers additional special resources into the call, for example play voice announcements or collect DTMF tones from the user.


Future of IN

Active development in IN has declined in recent years, however, with many proven systems deployed across the world continuing to provide revenue , manufacturers continue to support the equipment and obsolescence is not an issue.

While the IN is capable of meeting the ever-changing needs of customers, network intelligence is becoming increasingly distributed and complicated. Third-party service providers are interconnecting with traditional operating company networks, and govenrment mandates around local number portability [LNP] present many issues that can only be resolved in an IN environment.

New technologies and architectures in VOIP and SIP are diverting attention to to the use of APIs in preference to protocols like INAP. New standards have emerged in the form of JAIN and Parlay.

The SCE is moving away from proprietary graphical languages, and is moving towards a Java application server environment.

Video - 2007 Update On Intelligent Networks


INTECH activities are focused on satisfying the requirements of the wire line and wireless telephone service operators by developing value added intelligence and application. As part of their corporate strategy, INTECH maintains research and development activities of new products, especially in the service layer, VoIP and information technology for telecom operators and enterprises.

NEXT: Intelligent Information Networks

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