The Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) has been evolving ever since Alexander Graham Bell made the first voice transmission over wire in 1876. But, before explaining the present state of the PSTN and what’s in store for the future, it is important that you understand PSTN history and its basics. As such, this chapter discusses the beginnings of the PSTN and explains why the PSTN exists in its current state.

This chapter also covers PSTN basics, components, and services to give you a good introduction to how the PSTN operates today. Finally, it discusses where the PSTN could be improved and ways in which it and other voice networks are evolving to the point at which they combine data, video, and voice.

Reproduced from the book Voice over IP Fundamentals. Copyright © 2005, Cisco Systems, Inc. Reproduced by permission of Pearson Education, Inc., 800 East 96th Street, Indianapolis, IN 46240. Written permission from Pearson Education, Inc. is required for all other uses.