Intelligent Terminals for New Communication Services,
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CALIF
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This paper describes the evolution of intelligent terminals for communication networks. It emphasizes the nontechnological barriers to adoption of new communication services made feasible by intelligent terminals. Computing and communication technologies have converged rapidly. Telephone switches are now basically computers, while most new computer systems are designed for teleprocessing. In many ways, the present deployment of large, stored-program electronic switches in the telephone network resembles the emphasis on large CPU developments in the 1950s and early 1960s. As the cost of LSI digital circuits decreases, and as new transmission modes such as satellites and cable television provide more end-to-end communication links, one expects to see logical functions distributed more widely throughout communications networks. In particular, the use of logic in terminal equipment -- i.e., intelligent terminals -- will accelerate throughout the next decade. Communications users must continually make tradeoffs between buying more information processing at the terminal and buying more bandwidth. Over the next decade, at least, technology will favor the development of intelligent terminals, since the cost of logic is dropping faster than the cost of bandwidth.
- Computer Hardware
- Non-Radio Communications