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This paper focuses on network delays as they apply to voice traffic. First the nature of the delay problem is discussed and this is followed by a review of enhanced circuit, packet, and hybrid switching techniques: these include fast circuit switching (FCS), virtual circuit switching (VCS), buffered speech interpolation (SI), packetized virtual circuit (PVC), cut-through switching (CTS), composite packets, and various frame management strategies for hybrid switching. In particular, the concept of introducing delay to resolve contention in SI is emphasized, and when applied to both voice talkspurts and data messages, forms a basis for a relatively new approach to network design called transparent message switching (TMS). This approach and its potential performance advantages are reviewed in terms of packet structure, multiplexing scheme, network topology, and network protocols. The paper then deals more specifically with the impact of variable delays on voice traffic. In this regard the importance of generating and preserving appropriate length speech talkspurts in order to mitigate the effects of variable network delay is emphasized. The results indicate that a desirable length of talkspurt "hangover" of about 200 ms will accomplish this without unduly affecting speech activity, and that, under these circumstances, the perceptable threshold of variable talkspurt delay can be as high as about 200 ms average. As such, the results provide a useful guideline for integrated services system designers. Finally, suggestions are made for further studies on performance analysis and subjective evaluation of advanced integrated services systems.