The availability of different broadband technologies is an important factor for a fast and qualitative expansion of broadband infrastructure, meeting different local needs occurring from topography and population structure.

With DSL, cable access, the optical fibre technology, radio broadcasts and new mobile standards, a variety of broadband technologies are available on the market that ensure reliable broadband services. However, it is important to choose a technology that is suitable for the individual region.



Down-Upstream Rate (technical standard max.)

Efficiency range (technical standard max.)

Infrastructure architecture


Future of the technology

Wired Broadband Technologies


24/1 Mbps  5 km
  • internet access by transmitting digital data over the wires of a local telephone network copper line terminates at telephone exchange (ADSL) or street cabinet (VDSL)
  • Vectoring: Elimination of cross talks for higher bandwidths
  • G.Fast: Frequency increase up to 212 MHz to achieve higher bandwidth
  • use of existing telephone infrastructure
  • fast to install 
  • small efficiency range due to the line resistance of copper connection lines
  • further speed and range improvements by enhancing and combining new DSL-based technologies (phantom mode, bonding, vectoring)
  • bridge technology towards complete fibre optic cable infrastructure

VDSL, VDSL2, Vectoring

100 /40 Mbps 1 km


Gbps bandwidths possible 100 m 


200/100 Mbps(4) 2-100 km(2)
  • coaxial cable in the streets and buildings; fibre at the feeder segments
  • network extensions to provide backward channel functionality
  • use of existing cable television infrastructure
  • fast to install 
  • high transmission rates
  • Further implementation of new standards (DOCSIS 3.1) will allow to provide higher bandwidth to end-users

Optical Fibre Cable

10/10 Gbps

(and more)
10-60 km
  • signal transmission via fibre
  • distribution of signals by electrically powered network equipment or unpowered optical splitters
  • highest bandwidth capacities
  • high efficiency range
  • high investment costs 
  • bandwidth depends on the transformation of the optical into electronic signals at the curb (FTTC), building (FTTB) or home (FTTH)
  • next generation technology to meet future bandwidth demands

Wireless Broadband Technologies

LTE (Advanced)

(1000/30) Mbps

3-6 km

  • mobile devices send and receive radio signals with any number of cell site base stations fitted with microwave antennas


  • sites connected to a cabled communication network and switching system
  • highly suitable for coverage of remote areas (esp. 800 MHz)
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • shared medium 
  • limited frequencies
  • commercial deployment of new standards with additional features (HSPA+,5G) and provision of more frequency spectrum blocks (490 - 700 MHz)
  • meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-Services


42,2 / 5,76 Mbps 3 km
5G 10/20 Gbps 3-6 km
  • high achievable data rates
  • low latency
  • high reliability
  • higher frequency bands
  • advanced multi-antenna transmission
  • handling of extreme device densities
  • flexible spectrum usage
  • meets future needs of mobility and bandwidth accessing NGA-services
  • enables connectivity for a wide range of new applications


  • highly suitable for coverage of remote areas
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • run time latency 
  • asymmetrically
  • 30 Mbps by 2020 based on next generation of high-throughput satellites
LEO Satellites Signal distribution to user via WIFI/LTE/HSPA  
  • reduced latency
  • affordable internet access possible
  • controlling by the necessary ground stations of non-stationary flying satellites is very challenging
  • internet service for very rural and remote areas possible
INTERNET Balloons Signal distribution to user via WIFI/LTE/HSPA  
  • currently in a testing phase
  • challenging controlling
  • controlling by the necessary ground stations of non-stationary flying balloons is very challenging
  • internet service for very rural and remote areas possible



(IEEE 802.11ad)

600/600 Mbps


(7 Gbps)

200 m


(10 m)

  • inexpensive and proven
  • quickly and easily implementable
  • small efficiency range 
  • shared medium
  • increased use of hotspots at central places 



6/4 Mbps

(70 Mbps)

60 km

  • gets continually replaced by Wi-Fi and LTE and plays therefore no significant role anymore; further developments are therefore not expected
Lifi max. 224 Gbps several meters  
  • only delivers communication over short ranges
  • low reliability
  • high installation costs
  • cheaper than Wi-Fi
  • only effective and permanent within closed rooms
  • useful in electromagnetic sensitive areas such as in aircraft cabins, hospitals and nuclear power plants without causing electromagnetic interference
28 April 2014
Last update: 
15 December 2017
Team responsible