Telephone exchange

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In the field of telecommunications, a telephone exchange or telephone switch is a system of electronic components that connects telephone calls. A central office is the physical building used to house inside plant equipment including telephone switches, which make telephone calls "work" in the sense of making connections and relaying the speech information.

The term exchange area can be used to refer to an area served by a particular switch, but is typically known as a wire center in the US telecommunications industry. The exchange code or Central Office Code refers to the first three digits of the local number (NXX). It is sometimes confused with the area code (NPA). In the United States, local exchange areas together make up a legal entity called local access and transport areas (LATA) under the Modification of Final Judgment (MFJ).

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