This paper presents the design, fabrication and characterization of capacitive type MEMS switch for space and terrestrial communication applications. The deviation in measured actuation voltage and RF response of the switches are discussed in terms of the process variation which occurred unintentionally during the fabrication of devices. For example the measured actuation voltage is 15 V, about 20% higher than the designed voltage of 12.25 V. The deviation corresponds to the increase in thickness of the membrane while electroplating. The impact of process parameters on mechanical resonance frequency of the switches, and on/off time is also discussed. Measured S-parameters shows isolation of > − 20 dB for 7–16 GHz and an insertion loss better than − 0.6 dB up to 20 GHz. The capacitance ratio of the fabricated switch is 77, which is 15% lower than the designed capacitance ratio. The switch has been tested for 1 million 65 thousand cycles without switching failure. The deviation of simulated and measured results is discussed in the following sections. © 2018, Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.