Swisscom combines DSL and LTE networks to boost home broadband speeds

Swisscom announced plans to trial technology combining LTE with DSL networks to boost the bandwidth available to its home internet users in a limited pilot involving residential customers.

The operator said DSL+LTE bonding technology will enable it to provide bandwidths of up to 20 Mbps in its initial phase of testing, which is scheduled to take place this month (January). Swisscom explained the greater bandwidths offered by the bonding technology are needed to match growing consumer demand for data. For example, data volumes on Swisscom's fixed-line network are doubling every 16 months, the operator revealed.

Swisscom said the residential trials of the bonded fixed and mobile networks are being undertaken following successful laboratory trials of the DSL+LTE bonding technology. The real-world tests will inform the operator as to whether a commercial launch is feasible, and utilise a special LTE receiver developed in-house that transfers mobile streams to the DSL router via WLAN.

The operator said the precise bandwidth improvement individual customers experience will depend on the length of copper wire being used and the quality of 3G and 4G mobile signals at the subscriber's home. Later phases of the DSL+LTE pilot will trial higher bandwidths, Swisscom stated.

Swisscom said the rollout of the bonded technology positions it as one of Europe's leading telecoms providers.

Deutsche Telekom announced the launch of a similar service in March 2015, combining the operator's DSL and VDSL networks with its LTE mobile network. In that case, the operator utilised a new hybrid router that will switch users to the mobile Internet connection if both fixed-line options are congested.

At the time, the former German incumbent said the fixed/mobile Internet access approach would enable it to offer access to high-speed services like video streaming to subscribers that currently experienced low broadband speeds.

Swisscom said its trial of DSL+LTE bonding forms part of a commitment to offer ultra-fast broadband access to around 85 per cent of homes and businesses in the country by 2020. The operator said it invested CHF1.75 billion (€1.59 billion/$1.74 billion) in its IT and network infrastructure in 2015 as part of that commitment.

For more:
- see this Swisscom announcement

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