Fixed-line network

Although there is no completely uniform definition of a fixed-line network, the term typically refers to all of the wired networks that are used for voice and data communications. A fixed-line can be seen as a connection to an end customer, by means of a cable, through which a user can make phone calls or connect to the Internet. Fixed-lines are clearly separate from the mobile phone network, by which end users are connected to the network via wireless transmission technologies.

The fixed-line network can be divided into the core network and the access network. While the access network has an almost blanket coverage of copper paired wires that ensures many individual terminals are connected to the next node, core network lines predominantly have a high bandwidth for connecting switching computers to each other. Here copper cables and fibre optics are used as well as wireless radio technologies. Modern access networks are, in addition to copper wires, increasingly using fibre optic lines.

The development of the fixed-line network

The landline network was originally a purely circuit-switched telephone network, over which individual participants' lines were (originally manually, and later automatically) connected together to make calls. With increasing digitisation and the demand for data transmission, the fixed-line network has developed into a universal, integrated services network. Today it is possible, via landline broadband Internet access, for example via DSL, to achieve bandwidths of many megabits per second. The protocol that is primarily used for the transfer of services is IP (Internet Protocol). Modern networks are capable of transporting both data and the spoken word via IP. The advent of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) technology has meant that both consumers and providers only need a single infrastructure over which all services can operate. Even the reception of television programmes can be implemented over the IP network.

The merging of data and voice transmission via the fixed-line network opens up completely new possibilities. A computer can become a fully-fledged phone, connecting call participants with a simple mouse click. In addition, telephone systems can be fully operated as a cloud service through the data network, making it possible to have as many telephone connections as desired, without the need for the customer to purchase and maintain costly hardware in their premises.

Further information


The acronym TCP/IP stands for Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol and refers to a family of network protocols which are the basis for communication and data exchange over the internet as…

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