Public switched telephone network
The public switched telephone network (PSTN) provides infrastructure and services for public telecommunication. The PSTN is the aggregate of the world's circuit-switched telephone networks that are operated by national, regional, or local telephony operators. These consist of telephone lines, fiber optic cables, microwave transmission links, cellular networks, communications satellites, and undersea telephone cables, all interconnected by switching centers which allow most telephones to communicate with each other.
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The technical operation of the PSTN adheres to the standards created by the ITU-T. These standards allow different networks in different countries to interconnect seamlessly. The E.163 and E.164 standards provide a single global address space for telephone numbers. The combination of the interconnected networks and the single numbering plan allow telephones around the world to dial each other.