The Swiss Education & Research Network
Switch ORG Proposal, Appendix A: About Switch back to index

Table of content

  1. Legal information
  2. Statutes
  3. Network and technology
  4. Services
  5. Domain registration
  6. Financial figures for SWITCH
  7. Why SWITCH?
  8. Enclosures
  9. Appendix AA: Original Swiss Commercial Register certificate, hard copy, not as html
  10. Appendix AB: Statutes of SWITCH (in German)
  11. Appendix AC: SWITCH annual report 2000, translation to English
  12. Appendix AD: SWITCH annual report 2001, hard copy, not as html
  13. Appendix AE: SWITCHjournal2/2001, hard copy, not as html
  14. Appendix AF: Swiss Commercial Register certificate, translation to English

The foundation SWITCH

1. Legal information

SWITCH was formally established in October 1987 as a foundation of the private sector by the Swiss government (Federal Department of Home Affairs) and eight university cantons for the purpose of creating and maintaining Switzerland's academic and research network.

SWITCH is listed in the commercial register of Bern with its seat at Schweizerische Universitätskonferenz (see appendix AA, in paper form only), offices are located in Zürich at Limmatquai 138 and Neumühlequai 6. Number of personnel: 42 FTE's; head count is at 48 persons. Website:


2. Statutes

The original text of the statutes of 23.10.1987 is in German (see appendix AB). Below a translation of the articles relevant for this bid:

Article 1, Objectives

  1. The purpose of the foundation is to create, promote and maintain the necessary funda-mental means for efficient use of modern telecommunication methods for the benefit of education and research in Switzerland and to participate in such fundamental activities. The foundation does neither pursue commercial purposes nor is it aimed at accumulating profit.

2. For this purpose


d) is the foundation promoting, participating in and facilitating national and international coop-eration in all areas of telecommunication-aimed tasks (exchange of electronic messages, access to supercomputers, to data bases, to public teleinformatics services, to research networks in other countries etc.).

Article 2, Methods

To realize its objectives, the foundation in particular may:


7. Offer tangible and intangible objects and services to non-users and third parties

8. Cultivate the cooperation with universities and industry and strive for and promote coordina-tion on national and international levels

9. Look after its interests in international panels and seek cooperation with foreign or interna-tional institutions with similar goals.

From the objectives of its statutes and particularly from the methods described to realize its objec-tives it is evident that SWITCH explicitly may offer services to third parties and its non-commercial status is documented. Conclusion: Performing the registry function for ORG is within the parameters of the SWITCH statutes.

Annual reports are available on-line since 1997 ( as Ac-robat PDF documents in German; the year 2000 issue is included in paper form as appendix AD and the translation can be found in appendix AC).


3. Network and technology

SWITCH supports the TCP/IP suite of protocols since 1989, at that time with a 2 Mbps dual-star backbone between Lausanne and Zürich. Since then the network - called SWITCHlan - has grown considerably and is now connecting all Swiss universities, Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology, Universities of Applied Sciences and many other institutions devoted to research and education, e.g.CERN, Paul Scherrer Institute and many libraries (some 40 sites). The current network topology is shown below.

Fig. 1: SWICHlan topology (see
to enlarge click on map!

SWITCHlan is linking supercomputers in Lausanne (EPFL) Manno (CSCS) and Zurich (ETHZ) by means of dedicated high speed fiber optical lines (DWDM) and is connected to the European Na-tional Research and Education Networks (project GÉANT) with 2.5 Gbps. GÉANT's connectivity to the Global Terabit Research Network ensures global integration of worldwide academic net-works of the next generation. Connectivity to US Abilene network and Canadian CA*net, to SI-NET, KOREN and SingAREN in the Asia-pacific region with up to 10 Gbps. Connectivity to the Commodity Internet through multiple peering agreements. The network is expected to grow by a factor of 1'000 until year 2007. SWITCH is a project partner of the University Corporation for Ad-vanced Internet Development (UCAID), also known as Internet2, and a shareholder in DANTE (Delivery of Advanced Network Technology to Europe).

Security is an important aspect in networking and SWITCH is involved in incident handling (CERT function), is monitoring services and applications and maintains a security lab and a secu-rity-related help desk. DNS and IP software is being kept up-to-date and SWITCH is participat-ing in the development of IPsec and DNSsec.

SWITCH also participating in 6bone (a voluntary coordination initiative of Research and Educa-tion Networks to promote and encourage early production IPv6 network services to facilitate high quality, high performance, and operationally robust IPv6 networks) and Mbone (an IP mul-ticast virtual network) initiatives and infrastructures.

Figure 2: One of the SWITCH racks at ETHZ
to enlarge click on picture!


4. Services

SWITCH understands its activities in the academic environment as an integrating partner with the Swiss universities for the realization of modern information and communication technolo-gies. Some innovative projects performed in co-operation with universities:

  • In the framework of a Swiss Virtual Campus the mandate "Evaluation and Implementa-tion of an Authentication and Authorization Infrastructure" (AAI) was awarded to SWITCH. A working group consisting of members of several universities is established for this task.
  • Involvement in several E-Learning projects and multimedia-based applications, such as Teleconferencing, Tele-Lecturing, Tele-Collaboration, Video-on-Demand etc.
  • Participation in educational projects (e-Teaching, e-Learning, eEurope, e-Science, Grid-computing etc.)
  • Mobility projects for campus-independent IP and security infrastructures and charging models to use the European Credit Transfer System.

The magazine SWITCHjournal is published twice per year to report on recent activities and pro-vide background information (see appendix AE for journal 2/2001 in paper form).



5.Domain registration

Switzerland (CH):
The TLD CH has been assigned to SWITCH since 20.5.1987. A new and liberal registration policy was implemented on 1.1.1996. This policy was praised at its introduction as more advanced and better reflecting the important principles of equal treatment than the policy in COM/NET/ORG at that time ( A Web-based online registration system and charges for registration services were introduced per 1.1.1996. The fees have been decreased several times since then. Eight name servers are resolving CH second level domain names worldwide (4 in Europe, 2 in US, 1 in Australia, 1 in Argentina). In 1999 introduction of technical and security improvements to the registration system: User-ID’s and passwords, Oracle data base, new billing system. SWITCH is highly respected by the Swiss Internet community (according to public hearings held in August 2001) for technical and administrative competence and efficiency. SWITCH customer care center communicates in three official languages (German, French and Italian) and in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Yugoslavian. The Web pages have been in English seen as the major communication language from the beginning and are now also available in German, French and Italian.

In 2001 the Swiss Federal Office of Communications decided to enhance its responsibility for the communication infrastructure in Switzerland. As a result, SWITCH performs registry services for CH now in its function as delegee of the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (since 1.4.2002). The benefits are clear competences, defined (local) re-delegation rules and a legally stable and elaborate system.

ADR/UDRP: Due to well established summary proceedings conducted by local public courts, their short decision times and low cost it was felt unnecessary to introduce ADR’s for domain name disputes under CH. Local trade mark lawyers have indicated that such a mandatory procedure would only increase the time required for challenges. SWITCH is currently evaluating an ADR process tailored to the need of the local community.

Statistical data for Switzerland and CH:

  • Number of Swiss inhabitants: 7.3 Million, number of enterprises: 320’000
  • Hostcount (March 2002): 524’919 counted real hosts (many hidden behind firewalls), estimate: more than 1 Million hosts
  • Domain names in CH: 458'760 (13.6.2002)
  • Ca. 30 Registrars are using proprietary XML interface (

Website: ; WHOIS:

Principality of Liechtenstein (LI):
SWITCH is acting as registry on behalf of the Liechtenstein Office for Communications (technical contact), administrative contact is the University for Applied Sciences in Liechtenstein. A public consultation held in 2001 by the Liechtenstein Office for Communications has shown strong support for SWITCH.

Statistical data for Liechtenstein and LI:

  • Number of Inhabitants in Liechtenstein: ca. 33’000
  • Hostcount (March 2002): 3520 counted real hosts, estimate: more than 5’000
  • Domain names in LI: 15'975 (13.6.2002)

Website: ; WHOIS:

Figure 3: A section of the Customer Care Center
for Domain Registration (CH and LI)



6. Financial figures for SWITCH

Financial Figures (period 01.01.2001-31.12.2001)


ASSETS 31.12.01
Fixed assets 20'594'144.00
Intangible fixed assets 1'360'420.00
Tangible fixed assets 1'636'683.00
Financial assets 17'597'041.00
Current assets 11'949'825.00
Debtors due within one year 1'017'856.00
Debtors due after one year 0.00
Cash at bank and in hand 10'452'401.00
Other current assets 479'568.00
     Total assets 32'543'969.00
Capital and reserves 6'632'500.00
Subscribed capital 3'316'250.00
Reserves 3'316'250.00
Creditors 25'911'469.00
Long term non-bank debt 23'231'758.00
Long term bank debt 0.00
Short term non-bank debt 2'679'711.00
Short term bank debt 0.00
     Total liabilities 32'543'969.00


Turnover 6'222'435.00
Other operating income 16'221'276.00
Costs of material & consumables 12'419'024.00
Other operating charges 0.00
Staff costs 3'056'178.00
Gross operating profit 6'968'509.00
Depreciation and value adjustments on non-financial assets 1'833'129.00
Net operating profit 5'135'380.00
Financial income and value adjustments on financial assets 207'104.00
Similar charges 1'073'697.00
Extraordinary income and charges 4'268'787.00
Profit/loss for the financial year 0.00



7. Why SWITCH?

As a non-profit organization located in Switzerland, SWITCH is able to provide a stable, secure and independent environment for the global ORG community. With the establishment of offices in America and Asia-Pacific, SWITCH will provide regional support in appropriate languages and focus its strategy on best services at lowest possible prices within a transparent, open and neutral environment.

Figure 4: SWITCH offices at Zürich, Limmatquai 138,
building labeled “Croatia Airlines”
click on picture to enlarge

Figure 5: SWITCH offices at Zürich, Neumühlequai 6, ca.
150 m from Limmatquai 138
click on picutre to enlarge



11. Enclosures

Appendix AA: Original Swiss Commercial Register certificate, hard copy
Appendix AD: SWITCH annual report 2000, hard copy
Appendix AE: SWITCHjournal2/2001, hard copy