The Ultimate Guide to the NBN

  • What Is The NBN?
  • So, How Fast Is The NBN?
  • What Are The Types Of NBN Connections?

Ultimate Guide to the NBN

The NBN is everywhere. Everywhere you turn, you will see a TV commercial for the NBN or massive billboards perched above roads, freeways and buildings. This comes as no surprise, considering how our entire nation will soon run our broadband internet plans via the NBN network. In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the NBN. Ever wondered what exactly the NBN is, how fast it is or have any other curiosities about what the shift towards the NBN means for you and your family? If so, this is the article you need to read. Grab a cuppa, get comfortable and keep on reading!

 

What Is The NBN?

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, we need to fully understand what exactly the NBN truly is. Most people are aware that the NBN is the network that their broadband internet plans run on, but not very much more than that. To put it simply, the NBN, or National Broadband Network, is a government-owned network that aims to provide all us Australians with a reliable, fast and efficient broadband connection, regardless where you are in Australia. The NBN runs on  a fibre-optic, fixed wireless and satellite infrastructure which aims to replace all existing broadband infrastructure with faster and more reliable broadband services to all homes and businesses across the nation. The NBN is truly a game changer, which boasts download speeds of up to 100mbps, which is over 4 times as fast as the fastest ADSL2+ broadband connections that are currently available. For those who currently access their internet service via an ADSL2+ connection, imagine having your favourite shows, tunes and games loading 4 times as fast as they currently do - this is the dream that the NBN wishes to make come true for all of us Australians who are fed up with slow and unreliable connection speeds. Now that you know exactly what the NBN is, let’s jump into the other questions that you may have about their services and what they can offer you.

 

So, How Fast Is The NBN?

When it comes to broadband speeds, the NBN offers users a variety of speed options, ensuring that everyone has access to their services at variable budgetary needs. At the very least, NBN users will start their broadband connections and plans on the basic Tier 1 NBN speeds. Tier 1 connections are the standard speed that most plans start at for users and homes with a basic internet usage. At a Tier 1 connection, you will receive download speeds of up to 12 Mbps and upload speeds of 1Mbps. To make that easier to understand, such speeds would result in a 2GB movie downloading in 25 minutes or so.

NBN Tier 1 provides users with the equivalent of average ADSL2+ speeds and is best suited for those who use the internet for basic purposes such as checking emails, streaming modest amounts of music and watching a few shows on Netflix, Youtube, and Stan. Most Tier 1 plans are highly affordable, but may not be suited to households with multiple internet users as your plan may be stretched thin.

NBN Tier 2 is the next level of speed you can access via the NBN. This speed tier is an upgrade from the Tier 1 speeds, providing download speeds of up to 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 5 Mbps. Download time for a 2GB movie is reduced to to 11 minutes with this connection and this is the ideal speed tier for users who are looking to stream 4K quality videos online. Tier 2 is also ideal for a household of two who utilise the internet often for both work and entertainment purposes.  

The next upgrade is to a NBN Tier 3 speed.Tier 3 offers awesome download speeds up to 50 Mbps and upload speeds of up to 20 Mbps. You’ll be downloading a 2GB movie in just 6 minutes, so this plan is perfect for a household of multiple users, offering users enough bandwidth to enjoy all the movies, games and music they want to access on the internet. 

Last but not least, we have what is considered the fastest possible speeds available at the moment with the NBN Tier 4 plans. This plans offer download speeds up to 100Mbps and upload speeds of up to 40Mbps, making this the ideal plan for those who are obsessed with streaming movies, TV shows, music and playing games online. This is also ideal for those who want to upload files online, whether they be photos, videos or music. NBN Tier 4 speeds are also ideal for regular offsite back-ups via OneDrive, Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive.

 

What Are The Types Of NBN Connections?

When it comes to the types of NBN connections available to users, there are 4 main options we will look into. The first of these options is the Fibre To The Premises / Home (FTTP/H) connections. When the National Broadband Network initially started its rollout, the government at the time had intentions to roll out fibre optic cabling all the way up to your home or business property. This first type of connection is call Fibre To The Premises/Home.

The next connection available is the Fibre To The Node (FTTN) connection which was introduced mid-way through the NBN rollout when a change in government leadership saw funding constraints which lead to a slightly different roll-out approach for the National Broadband Network. This revised approach involves an amalgamation of existing original copper systems and fibre optic systems, referred to as Fibre To The Node (FTTN). FTTN connections mean that a fibre optic cable will runs from your telephone exchange to your local node/ cabinet. The node/ cabinet is then connected to your property via existing copper lines.

Next up, we have Fixed Wireless Connections. In certain situations such as homes and businesses in remote locations, it is highly impractical to physically connect a property to the fibre-optic network. In these situations, homes will be connected by a wireless network referred to as a Fixed Wireless NBN connectionThis type of connection means that remote areas will have a local tower that is connected to the NBN™ with fibre optic cables. Properties will also have an external antenna installed on roofs which will be used to wirelessly connect the property to the local NBN tower. However, such a service will not support a standalone VoIP home phone service. In this case, users will have to get it bundled with their internet plans.

Lastly, there is the Fibre To The Curb (FTTC) which is intended to launch next year. This connection will utilise fibre optic cabling from the exchange to the telecom pit outside the property, and a smaller amount of copper cabling between the telecom pit and property.

This approach is believed to make the NBN roll-out quicker, easier, and more cost effective. Additionally, FTTC is believed to be a superior type of connection to FTTN as it is less subject to local network traffic conditions, and data only has to travel a short distance via existing inferior copper lines.

 

Can I Get The NBN?

So, after reading all of that, you may be wondering to yourself, “Can I get the NBN?”. The quick answer to this is, yes. However, this is highly dependant on the NBN Rollout Map. Whilst the NBN is aimed to reach almost all residential and business properties by 2020, it does take time to get everything up and working for the entire nation.

The easiest way to check if your home is in an NBN accessible area is to head over to the NBN Rollout Map. This handy map just requires you to type your address in, and it will let you know if NBN services are currently already available in your area, or otherwise if the building has commenced already. For further simplicity, the rollout map has been made extremely easy to understand with colour coded activities, all representing a different stage of progression in the nation’s switch to NBN. If you are someone who lives in a Metro area, chances are you already have access to the NBN, so always call your Telco to enquire and find out more.

 

How Do I Get Connected To The NBN?

Once you have checked the rollout map or received notification from NBN Co that the NBN has been installed in your area, you can start taking advantage of the benefits of the NBN. However, with new technologies usually come the need for some new equipment, and in this case, you will need an NBN compatible modem as well as a technician appointment to get the equipment installed at your property.

If you’re moving from a cable connection to the NBN, you will definitely need a new modem. Some ISPs offer free NBN compatible modems when signing up to their NBN plans, or will offer customers compatible modems which they can purchase and install themselves. If you are currently connected to an ADSL2+ connection, your modem may already be compatible with the NBN and you should check this with the manufacturer. If not, again, you will be able to purchase one from your ISP.

After ensuring you have access to a compatible plan and modem, chances are you will need to book a connection appointment to have your property connected to the NBN. For FTTP connections, your NBN technician will need to install an NBN utility box both inside and outside your property. For Fixed Wireless NBN connections, a technician will also need to do the same.

For FTTN customers, you will then be booking an appointment to have your connection enabled at the node. FTTN customers do not need to be at home for the appointment, however, FTTP and Fixed Wireless customers may require an adult to be at home for the duration of the appointment. Based on your type of connection and the availability of technicians in the area, appointments could be anywhere from one day to a whole month after you request one. However, most times, it will take an average of 5-10 business days. 

After your appointment, you should be able to connect to the NBN almost immediately. FTTP and Fixed Wireless users will need to plug their NBN compatible modems into the UNI-D port of the new NBN Connection Box that has been installed in your home. For FTTN users, you will simply need to plug your modem into your old home phone wall socket with an Ethernet cable. After going through all these steps, you should successfully be connected to your new NBN connection.

 

But, Do I Have To Change Over To The NBN?

The simple answer to this is yes and no. For most users where the internet service you have is provided over Telstra's copper phone lines, you will definitely need to switch over to the NBN. This is because all of Telstra’s existing copper network will eventually be switched off. If you want to continue having a fixed line at home, then you will need to have your home phone and internet service connected to the NBN network. Optus cable internet and cable phone service users will also have to make the shift to the NBN. As the NBN broadband access network is rolled out, some Special Services will also be disconnected. For those who are unaware, Special Services are a set of business telecommunication products delivered on copper, other than your standard landline phone or internet services. Those who require these services will have to switch over to the NBN.

On the other hand, there are some users who will not have to switch to the NBN should they choose not to. The copper network within NBN™ Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster™ Satellite areas will not be switched off. Customers of other Fiber Providers will also not need to switch over. If your phone or internet connection is already provided over another fibre network such as a network provided by your building owner, private enterprise network, health or education network, or a cable network that's not owned by Telstra or Optus (such as TransACT – excluding ACT customers being migrated to an nbn™ powered plan, OptiComm, Pivit or others), they should continue operating unless your provider advises otherwise.

Lastly, if you are subscribed to Foxtel Pay TV and it is provided by satellite or Telstra Cable, it will not be switched off as part of the NBN™ rollout. If you access any Foxtel services via the net (ie via an Xbox/PC/tablet/smartphone/smart TV), you will need an internet connection in line with Foxtel’s minimum requirements.

 

What NBN Speed Should I Get?

Once connected to the NBN, you might be wondering what speeds you should get to best suit your needs. You will have the option of choosing either a 12Mbps, 25Mbps, 50Mbps or 100Mbps download speed plan. Below we touch on the individual speeds and what they are best for.

12 Mbps: This is the first tier which advertises download speeds of 12Mbps, a match for older ADSL2+ speeds. This is the cheapest plan available and are as fast as most people have come to expect from their normal home broadband connection. This speed is ideal for single occupant homes or those who do not use the internet all day long.

25 Mbps: This Tier 2 connection is currently the most popular NBN speed tier, as 25Mbps is a good amount of bandwidth for smaller households who have standard internet usage. This speed is fast enough for watching a tv show or streaming

50 Mbps: This  is one of the more uncommon connection speeds available. 50Mbps speeds are great for families who listen to music, play games and watch movies all all at the same time on their own devices at home without having to suffer with slower download speed.

100 Mbps: This is the fastest speed available today and the best way to future-proof your connection. This speed option is best for large families or share homes that will be able to make use of the capacity of this connection speed. It is also a fantastic choice for businesses, as these connections offer 40 Mbps upload speeds, fantastic for backing up business systems or sharing large files with friends and family.

 

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So, there you have it. The Ultimate Guide To The NBN. After reading this, we are sure that you have all that you need to know about switching over to the NBN. For those who still have queries or questions, do not hesitate to head over to our website or contact us today. We are here to help you, and help we will!