History of SWITCHlan

Technological milestone

In 1989, SWITCH made national history: this was when it proved possible, for the very first time, to directly link all the Swiss universities to each other via SWITCHlan. The name was intended to highlight the fact that SWITCH was building up a network that would link the universities' computers together just as efficiently as the LAN (Local Area Network) within an individual university.

SWITCHlan thus became a technical milestone for communication within the national education and research network in 1989. The connection bandwidth at this point in time, moreover, was still 64 or 128kbit/s.

A single glass fibre, multiple options

Today, SWITCHlan has long since become established: as a high-performance, redundant network, which is thus largely free from disruption. The quantity of data that a single glass fibre is able to carry is far in excess of the universities' current requirements. This is because data transmission within our network is based on so-called "wavelength multiplex". In this way, light with dissimilar optical wavelengths can be transmitted via just a single glass fibre.

Disruption-free even during peak periods

SWITCH is thus in a position to respond rapidly to our customers' needs for bigger bandwidths without needing to expand the SWITCHlan glass fibre infrastructure. Even during peak traffic periods, the load on the individual connections in the Swiss education and research network rarely exceeds the ten-percent mark.