Technical terms

ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line): A broadband data transmission technology that uses the existing copper telephone cable for broadband access to the data network. Filters at the customer end and in the network prevent mutual interference, allowing traditional analogue telephony and data transmission to exist in parallel. Depending on the line length and other factors, the transmission speed varies between 150/50 kbps and a maximum of 6,000/600 kbps.

All IP: All-IP is the technology behind the transition to a single unified network based on the Internet Protocol (IP). All-IP means that all services such as television, the Internet or telephony run over the same IT network based on the Internet Protocol. Phone calls are no longer transmitted using analogue signals but instead take the form of data packets, as is the case with Internet services. Thanks to the unified All-IP network infrastructure, devices and services can communicate with one another and exchange data. In the medium and long term, Swisscom intends to migrate all existing communications networks to IP to enable all telecommunications services (telephony, data traffic, TV, mobile communications, etc.) to be offered over IP.

Bandwidth: Bandwidth refers to the transmission capacity of a medium; also known as the data transmission rate. The higher the bandwidth, the more information units (bits) can be transmitted per unit of time (second): bps, kbps, Mbps.

Connectivity: Connectivity is the generic term used to denote IP services or the connection to the Internet and the ability to exchange data with any partner on the network.

DSL (Digital Subscriber Line): DSL is the generic term for transmission technologies that use subscriber lines based entirely or partly on copper. Examples of DSL technologies: ADSL or VDSL.

EDGE (Enhanced Data Rates for GSM Evolution): EDGE is a radio modulation technology used to enhance data transmission speeds in GSM mobile networks. EDGE enables data transmission speeds of up to 256 kbps. Today EDGE covers 99.8% of the Swiss population.

FTTH (Fibre to the Home): FTTH refers to the end-to-end connection of homes and offices using fibre-optic cables instead of traditional copper cables.

FTTS (Fibre to the Street)/FTTB (Fibre to the Building)/FTTC (Fibre to the Curb): FTTS, FTTB and FTTC with vectoring for VDSL2 refer to innovative, hybrid broadband connection technologies (optical fibre and copper). With these technologies fibre-optic cables are laid as close as possible to the building, or up to the basement in the case of FTTB, while the existing copper cabling is used for the remaining section. VDSL’s subsequent evolution to will significantly increase bandwidths for FTTS and FTTB., the latest technology for copper lines, is capable of providing far more bandwidth than VDSL2. The use of for FTTS and FTTB is part of Swisscom’s access strategy. This technology is currently being standardised by the ITU-T.

GPRS (General Packet Radio Service): GPRS significantly accelerates the transmission speed in GSM mobile communications networks. GPRS enables speeds of 30 to 40 kbps.

GSM (Global System for Mobile Communications) network: GSM is a global digital mobile communications standard which, in addition to voice and data transmission, enables services such as SMS messaging and connections to and from countries abroad (international roaming).

HSPA (High Speed Packet Access): HSPA is a further development of the UMTS mobile communications standard. HSPA enables compared to UMTS large volumes of data to be transmitted at faster speeds and allows far more customers to use the same radio cell simultaneously and at a consistently high speed than would be possible with UMTS. At locations where mobile Internet use is particularly concentrated, HSPA is upgraded to HSPA+ (also referred to as HSPA Evolution). The maximum transmission speed currently delivered by this technology is 42 Mbps.

ICT (Information and Communication Technology): A collective term coined in the 1980s denoting the convergence of information technology (information and data processing and the related hardware) and communication technology (technically aided communications).

IP (Internet Protocol):IP enables different types of services to be integrated on a single network. Typical applications are virtual private networks (VPN), telephony (Voice over IP) and fax (Fax over IP).

IPTV (Internet Protocol Television): IPTV refers to the digital broadcasting of broadband applications (for example, television programmes and films) over an IP network.

ISP (Internet Service Provider): An ISP is a provider of Internet-based services; also commonly referred to as Internet Provider. Services include Internet connection (using DSL, for example), hosting (registration and operation of Internet addresses, websites and web servers) and content provision.

LAN (Local Area Network): A LAN is a local network for interconnecting computers, usually based on Ethernet.

4G/LTE (Long Term Evolution): 4G/LTE is the successor technology to HSPA and stands for fourth-generation mobile technology. At present, LTE enables mobile broadband data speeds of up to 150 Mbps.

MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator): MVNO is a business model for mobile communications in which a company (the MVNO) with no network infrastructure or a limited network infrastructure is able to access the infrastructure of other mobile communications providers.

Optical fibre: Fibre-optic cables enable optical data transmission, unlike copper cables, which use electrical signals to transmit data.

OTT (Over the Top): OTT refers to content distributed by service providers over an existing network infrastructure without operating the infrastructure themselves. OTT companies offer proprietary services on the basis of the infrastructures of other companies in order to reach a broad range of users quickly and cost-efficiently.

PWLAN (Public Wireless Local Area Network): A PWLAN is a public local area network based on the IEEE802.11 Wi-Fi set of standards. Swisscom customers enjoy PWLAN access at more than 2,000 hotspots in Switzerland and over 65,000 worldwide. A PWLAN typically offers data transmission speeds of 5-10 Mbps.

Roaming: Roaming enables mobile network subscribers to use their mobile phones when travelling abroad. The mobile telephone of a subscriber outside Switzerland automatically selects the best-quality partner network. Information indicating the country and region where the mobile phone is located at any given time is sent to the exchange in Switzerland where the mobile phone is registered. On receipt of the calling signal, the exchange in Switzerland transmits it within a fraction of a second to the right region in the respective country, where the signal is forwarded to the base station in whose vicinity the mobile phone is located. The base station then forwards the signal to the mobile phone and the call can be taken. Roaming only works if all countries involved operate on the same frequency bands. In Europe all GSM networks use the same frequency bands. Other countries such as the USA or countries in South America use a different frequency range. Most mobile telephones today are triband or quadband and support 900 MHz and 1,800 MHz networks (which are most commonly used in Europe) as well as 850 MHz and 1,900 MHz networks.

Router: A router is a device for connecting or separating several computer networks. The router analyses incoming data packets according to their destination address, and either blocks them or forwards them accordingly (packet routing). Routers come in various sizes: from large-scale network devices to small devices for the home.

TDM (Time Division Multiplex): Multiplexing is a method which allows the simultaneous transmission of multiple signals over a single communications medium (line, cable or radio link), for example, by means of classic telephony (using an ISDN or analogue line). Multiplexing methods are often combined to achieve even higher utilisation. The signals are multiplexed once the user data have been modulated on a carrier signal. At the receiver end they are then demultiplexed and demodulated.

UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System): UMTS is an international third-generation mobile communications standard that combines mobile multimedia and voice services. A further development of GSM, UMTS complements GSM and Public Wireless LAN in Switzerland. Today the UMTS network covers around 98% of the Swiss population.

Unified Communications: An attempt to integrate the wide variety of modern communication technologies. Different telecommunication services such as e-mail, unified messaging, telephony, mobile, PDAs, instant messaging and presence functions are coordinated to enhance the reachability of dispersed communication partners, thereby speeding up business processes.

Vectoring: This technology is used in conjunction with VDSL2 to eliminate interference between copper wire pairs and enable bandwidths to be increased by as much as a factor of two.

VDSL (Very High Speed Digital Subscriber Line): VDSL is currently the fastest DSL technology, allowing data transmission speeds of up to 100 Mbps. The current version of VDSL is called VDSL2.

Video on Demand: A service that allows subscribers to choose from a selection of films and to watch the selected film at any time. The film is delivered to the subscriber either over the broadband cable network, over the original telephone network (DSL transmission), or over the new fibre-optic network (optical transmission).

VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol): VoIP is used to set up telephone connections over the Internet.

VPN (Virtual Private Network): Nowadays VPN is generally used to refer to a virtual IP network (usually encrypted) that acts as a closed subnetwork within another IP network (usually the public Internet).

WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network): A WLAN is a network that connects several computers wirelessly and links them to a central information system, printer or scanner.