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Internet Connection in Switzerland: Connection Technologies Comparison

Find information about various types of internet connections available in Switzerland. Compare the features of cable connection, DSL connection, fiber optic connection, or FWA connection, and discover which is the best connection for your home.

Internet connection in Switzerland

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What network technologies are available for internet connection in Switzerland?

In Switzerland, as in the rest of the world, there are different network technologies that allow home internet connections. These network connections differ in some technical features, but the most crucial difference, especially for users, is the maximum connection speed measured in Megabits per second.

 

The internet connection speeds have the following maximum available speeds:

  • DSL: 20 Mbit/s

  • Coaxial Cable: 1 Gbit/s

  • Fiber Optic FTTH: 25 Gbit/s

  • FWA 4G: 300 Mbit/s

  • FWA 5G: 2 Gbit/s

  • Satellite: 50 Mbit/s

 

Note: The speeds listed above refer to the maximum download speed achievable with the different internet connections.

 

To better understand the connection characteristics of different network technologies, read the following paragraphs. Alternatively, you can find the best connection to save by switching to the internet plan comparison on internet-offer.ch.

DSL Connection

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) connection and its more advanced variant, VDSL (Very High Bitrate Digital Subscriber Line), are technologies used to provide fixed network connections through traditional copper telephone lines.

 

Here are some key features:

  • Data transmission technology over telephone lines: DSL and VDSL utilize existing copper telephone lines to transmit data at high speeds. This is a significant difference from dial-up connections, which use the same telephone infrastructure but at much slower speeds.

  • Separate frequencies for data and voice: One key feature of DSL is the ability to use different frequencies to transmit data and voice services simultaneously on the same line. This means you can browse the internet and talk on the phone simultaneously without interference.

  • Variable data transmission speeds: The data transmission speed on a DSL connection depends on various factors, including the distance from the telephone exchange and the quality of the copper cable. Typical speeds can range from a few hundred kilobits per second (Kbps) to several megabits per second (Mbps).

  • Higher speeds in VDSL: VDSL is an advanced version of DSL designed to offer even higher data transmission speeds. This is achieved through the use of higher frequencies and increased bandwidth. VDSL is particularly suitable for areas where fiber optic is not yet available.

  • DSL Critical Distance: The actual speed of a DSL or VDSL connection is influenced by the distance between the telephone exchange and the end user. The greater the distance, the lower the actual speed. VDSL has a shorter critical distance than traditional DSL, meaning it can maintain higher speeds over shorter distances.

 

In summary, both DSL and VDSL represent effective ways to provide broadband connections using existing telephone infrastructure. VDSL, in particular, offers superior performance compared to traditional DSL in terms of data transmission speed.

Cable Internet Connection

Cable internet connection utilizes coaxial cables to transmit signals, delivering high-speed broadband services. Commonly used for cable Swiss TV broadcasts and high-speed internet access in Switzerland.

Here are key features of cable internet connection:

  • Physical Infrastructure: Cable connection uses coaxial cables, consisting of a central conductor surrounded by layers of insulators, a metal screen, and an outer insulating coating. This structure allows the transmission of electrical signals at higher frequencies than traditional telephone cables.

  • Bandwidth Sharing: In cable networks, available bandwidth is shared among users in the same geographical area. This means connection speed may decrease during peak hours when many users are simultaneously utilizing the network.

  • High Speeds: Cable connections generally offer higher speeds compared to DSL technologies. Speeds can range from tens of megabits per second (Mbps) to hundreds of Mbps, and in some cases, even exceed 1 Gbps.

  • Cable Modem: To use a cable connection, a cable modem is required. This device connects to the coaxial outlet in your home and to the computer or home router to provide internet access.

  • Connection Stability: Cable connections tend to be stable and reliable. However, service quality can be influenced by network congestion and infrastructure maintenance.

 

In summary, cable internet connection is widely adopted, offering high speeds and connection stability. Bandwidth sharing may affect performance during peak hours, but overall, it is a popular choice for high-speed internet access.

Fiber Optic Connection

Swiss fiber optic connection (Fiber to the Home - FTTH) is an advanced technology bringing fiber optics directly to the user's residence. This approach offers extremely high data transmission speeds and increased reliability compared to other broadband connection technologies.

 

Here are key features of FTTH:

  • Fiber Optic to Home: FTTH extends fiber optics directly to the user's residence, fully leveraging the advantages of fiber optics in terms of speed, bandwidth, and reliability.

  • Very High Speeds: FTTH provides extremely high data transmission speeds, reaching several hundred megabits per second (Mbps) or even multiple gigabits per second (Gbps). This enables smooth file downloads, high-definition video streaming, and seamless video conferencing.

  • Low Latency: Fiber optic has very low latency, meaning data travels at very high speeds with minimal response times. This is crucial for latency-sensitive applications like online gaming and video calls.

  • Reliability: FTTH connections are generally more reliable than other technologies, as fiber optic is less susceptible to electrical interference or signal degradation compared to copper cables.

  • Symmetrical Speeds: Many FTTH connections offer symmetrical speeds, meaning upload speed equals download speed. This is particularly useful for activities requiring high upload loads, such as sending large files or live streaming.

 

In summary, FTTH represents the cutting edge of broadband internet access, offering very high speeds, low latency, and an extremely reliable connection directly to the user's residence.

 

Discover the most affordable fiber optic connections on internet-offer.ch

Fixed Wireless Access (FWA) connection

FWA (Fixed Wireless Access) is a technology that provides internet connection using fixed wireless base stations. This technology is often used in areas where installing wired infrastructure like fiber optics or coaxial cable might be costly or challenging to implement. Mobile network technology can either be limited to 4G or LTE, or utilize 5G connections.

 

Here are key features of FWA:

  • Fixed Wireless Transmission: FWA uses fixed radio base stations to provide high-speed internet connections to residences or businesses. These base stations can be placed on buildings, towers, or dedicated structures.

  • Point-to-Point or Point-to-Multipoint System: FWA connections can be implemented in point-to-point configurations, where each customer has a dedicated connection to a base station, or point-to-multipoint configurations, where multiple customers share the same connection from a base station.

  • Congestion Disadvantages: In situations where many people share the same base station, network congestion may occur during peak hours, affecting performance.

  • Variable Speeds: FWA speeds can vary depending on the distance from the access point, radio interference, and other environmental factors. In some implementations, speeds can be competitive with wired technologies.

  • Infrastructure Cost Savings: FWA can be a more cost-effective solution compared to laying physical cables, especially in rural or sparsely populated areas where extending wired infrastructure would be expensive.

  • Quick Installation: Setting up an FWA service can be faster than installing wired infrastructure, contributing to providing internet services more quickly in new areas or in response to temporary needs.

  • Weather Sensitivity: FWA connections can be influenced by weather conditions such as heavy rain or dense fog, which may attenuate radio signals and temporarily reduce performance.

 

In summary, FWA is a flexible solution that can be implemented quickly and at relatively lower costs compared to wired technologies. However, its effectiveness can vary depending on local mobile network coverage and user density sharing the same base station.

Satellite Connection

Satellite connection is a technology that provides internet access using satellites in Earth's orbit. This technology is often used in remote or sparsely populated areas where installing wired infrastructure or fixed wireless base stations might not be practical. In recent years, satellite internet has gained prominence, thanks to the entry of StarLink, Elon Musk's satellite internet provider.

 

Here are key features of satellite connection:

  • Global Coverage: Satellite connection's major advantage is its ability to provide global internet coverage. It can be implemented virtually anywhere, including remote and isolated locations.

  • Satellite Infrastructure: Satellite connection involves one or more satellites in Earth's orbit. Ground users connect to the internet through ground stations, also known as satellite terminals, which communicate with satellites.

  • Variable Data Transmission Speeds: Data transmission speeds in satellite connections can vary significantly. While some offerings may guarantee reasonable speeds, others may have limitations in terms of speed, especially in more budget-friendly plans.

  • High Latency: A drawback of satellite connections is high latency. Due to the long distances signals must travel between Earth and the satellite, a significant delay occurs. This can affect performance in latency-sensitive applications like online gaming or video calls.

  • Weather Susceptibility: Satellite connections can be influenced by weather conditions, such as heavy rain or snow, which can attenuate signals and temporarily reduce performance.

  • Easy Installation: Satellite connection is relatively easy to install, especially compared to implementing wired infrastructure or fixed wireless base stations.

  • Solution for Remote Areas:It is a practical solution for remote or sparsely populated geographical areas where installing other infrastructures would be difficult or costly.

 

In summary, satellite connection is a viable solution for remote or sparsely populated areas but presents challenges such as high latency and susceptibility to weather conditions. The technology is continually evolving, with new projects aiming to improve overall satellite connection performance.

Choosing the Right Internet Connection for Your Needs

To determine which internet connection is most suitable for your needs, it's essential to consider various factors, including your geographical location, speed requirements, availability of different technologies in your area, and your budget. Here are some common options with their pros and cons, along with possible use cases:

 

  • Fiber Optic (FTTH):

    • Pros:

      • High data transmission speeds

      • Low latency

      • Reliability

      • Symmetrical speeds (upload and download)

    • Cons:

      • Coverage may be limited in some areas

      • Initial installation costs might be higher

    • Use Cases:

      • Streaming high-definition videos

      • Online gaming

      • Telecommuting

      • Homes with numerous devices connected simultaneously

  • DSL/VDSL:

    • Pros:

      • Wide geographical coverage

      • Cost often lower than fiber

      • Connection stability

    • Cons:

      • Slower speeds compared to fiber

      • Dependence on the distance from the telephone exchange

    • Use Cases:

      • Web browsing

      • Streaming videos in standard definition

      • Basic online activities

  • Coaxial Cable:

    • Pros:

      • High speeds

      • Good coverage in urban areas

      • Availability of packages with TV channels

    • Cons:

      • Possible bandwidth sharing

      • Monthly costs potentially higher

    • Use Cases:

      • Streaming in high definition

      • Online gaming

      • Homes with a variety of connected devices

  • Fixed Wireless Access (FWA):

    • Pros:

      • Quick implementation

      • Suitable for remote areas

      • Often lower cost than wired installations

    • Cons:

      • Possible limitations in speed and stability

      • Network congestion during peak hours

    • Use Cases:

      • Connection in remote areas

      • Temporary solutions or in places where wiring is impractical

  • Satellite Connection:

    • Pros:

      • Global coverage

      • Suitable for remote locations

      • Relatively simple installation

    • Cons:

      • High latency

      • Variable speeds

      • Sensitivity to weather conditions

    • Use Cases:

      • Connection in remote or isolated areas

      • Temporary solutions

      • Applications that do not require low latency

 

To determine the best connection for you, carefully evaluate the pros and cons based on your specific needs, such as desired speed, availability in your area, and your budget.

Activating Your Internet Connection

When you need to activate a new internet connection, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a new provider.

  2. Check coverage.

  3. Subscribe to an internet contract.

  4. Schedule installation (if necessary).

  5. Install the modem router.

  6. Configure home Wi-Fi credentials.

  7. Activate the connection.

  8. Verify the connection with a speed test.

The Various Outlets: TV Socket, DSL Socket, Telephone Socket, and Fiber Optic Socket

Internet outlets in Switzerland: DSL socket, telephone socket, cable socket, and FTTH socket

A useful way to understand the type of connection available in your home is by examining the installed internet socket. This makes it relatively easy to determine whether the intervention of a technician is needed for the installation of a new internet connection.

 

The characteristics of internet sockets available in Switzerland are as follows:

  • Telephone Socket: These are older sockets relying entirely on telephone circuits developed in the mid-20th century. Depending on the installation decade, the telephone socket may have a round input with four holes arranged in a diamond shape or an almost rectangular appearance with two parallel series of three holes arranged vertically or horizontally. For these telephone sockets, an adapter will be necessary to install the internet box.

  • DSL Socket: This socket usually has one or two inputs suitable for a LAN cable. With a DSL socket, it is possible to connect the internet router directly without the need to purchase adapters.

  • TV Socket: A cable socket has a circular appearance with one or two concentric metal circles and a metal protrusion in the center. The TV socket can also be identified in the so-called multimedia outlets where a radio socket and a satellite socket may also be present. Coaxial cable is needed for the installation of the internet connection in these sockets.

  • Fiber Optic Socket: An FTTH socket is recognizable by its rectangular shape and classic white color. The fiber optic socket is often referred to as an OTO socket (acronym for Optical Termination Outlet) and serves as the access point from the residence to the fiber optic network. The fiber optic socket has a maximum of 4 ports, and it is necessary to use the port number communicated by the Swiss internet provider to install the router.

 

Bonus: Fiber optic sockets always have a code printed, called OTO ID. The OTO identification code is a unique code used to identify your internet connection. This code can be used to check coverage or request a change to another provider and is necessary to activate the new internet connection.

How do I deactivate my cable internet connection?

When deciding to switch to fiber optics, it may not be necessary to keep a cable connection in your home. The internet connection will utilize the FTTH network, providing direct access to Swiss IPTV with the new internet connection.

 

Once it is confirmed that the internet and TV connection does not use this type of cable connection, you can proceed with sealing off the cable connection at no additional cost. Deactivating this connection can save tens of francs every month, especially if your lease contract includes the subscription fee as part of the ancillary rental costs.

 

Remember that operators cannot charge any fees for sealing off the TV connection, as per federal regulations. Therefore, it is always advisable to inquire about this procedure to save.

Swiss Internet Connection FAQ

How much does an internet connection cost per month in Switzerland?

The monthly cost of an internet connection in Switzerland can vary depending on the provider, desired speed, and the type of connection technology. Typically, rates can range from CHF 30 to CHF 100 or more, depending on the chosen plan.

How much does it cost to activate an internet connection?

Activation costs can vary among different providers. In Switzerland, these costs can range from CHF 0 to CHF 100 or more, depending on the chosen package and any ongoing promotions.

What is the best internet connection?

The choice of the best connection depends on your specific needs. Fiber optic offers high speeds and low latency but may not be available everywhere. DSL, coaxial cable, and other technologies have different advantages and disadvantages. It is recommended to assess coverage, speed, and budget to determine which connection is best for you.

How can I change my internet connection?

To change your internet connection in Switzerland, follow these steps:

  • Choose a new provider or tariff plan.

  • Contact the new provider to activate the service.

  • If changing the type of technology (e.g., switching from DSL to fiber), check if additional installation is required.

  • If you have an existing contract, make sure you are aware of cancellation conditions and check for any penalties.

 

Note: Information may vary depending on the provider and region in Switzerland, so it is always advisable to contact the provider directly for specific details about your situation.

Stay Informed and Save with internet-offer.ch

With this guide, you have obtained the most important information about internet connections in Switzerland and can make an informed choice for your next subscription. Switch to comparison by selecting the desired product below:

If you want to learn more about other important topics in the world of Swiss telecommunications, you can browse other internet-offer.ch guides or search for key terms in the internet-offer.ch glossary.

Do you find it useful?

Author: Lapo Zarina

First Publication: January 2024

Sources: Wikipedia page Internet in Switzerland, Wikipedia page DSL, Wikipedia page Fiber optics, Wikipedia page Cable TV, and Wikipedia page play suisse | Proprietary images

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