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A dumb network is a network that performs minimal processing to support running activities. In its early stages, the Internet was considered a dumb network. A public switched telephone network (PSTN) is an example of an intelligent network.
Dumb networks are used by legacy systems (e.g., workstations and mainframes).
Dumb networks provide flexible and efficient end-to-end connectivity. However, they are not sensitive to enterprise needs, which creates potential issues because dumb networks are used for sharing applications.
Initially, dumb networks were criticized for security issues (e.g., viruses) and lack of network traffic prioritization. However, supporters stressed the high costs associated with intelligent networking, in addition to end user vs. system security, that is, end users should install antivirus software to avoid virus/malware intrusion and attacks.