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An intelligent network (IN) is a network that provides specific technical capabilities or services outside the conventional network standard spectrum. This term is often linked with telecom networks, as recent innovation has expanded telecom's capabilities beyond its original primary function of facilitating phone calls.
The IN concept is becoming more well defined with the introduction of more sophisticated networks by telecom companies. A leader of this type of innovation is Bellcore, a company with an Advanced Intelligent Network (AIN) that is often viewed as an IN model for telecom. These networks can separate extra services from the call switching system, making it easier to add new user services.
By using additional technology, such as a Service Control Point (SCP) and a Service Management System (SMS), these advanced networks can accommodate services like call screening or call waiting, as well as more complex services like variable charging, caller ID services and international messaging.
In terms of how an IN operates with conventional telephony, the extra services use the seven-layer Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model common to different types of networks. Experts have noted that because the standard telecom system implements much of this model, INs primarily work with a single layer known as the Intelligent Network Application Part (INAP).
Additional IN standards are maintained by the ITU Telecommunication Standardization Sector (ITU-T).