NBN is the new national broadband network that is being built by NBN Co. It has taken a number of large twists and turns over the years and is currently following a mixed technology approach to rolling out faster broadband across Australia. Originally the predominant delivery method for faster broadband was going to be FTTP – fibre to the premises. This is spoken about as a future proof solution that provides great capacity in the future with future technologies. Fibre optic cabling is used to connect the property to the new network.
With change of government, the mixed technology approach was adopted and it was decided that a large proportion of the country should receive fibre to the node technology. This is where fibre optis cabling is used up to newly created nodes in the street. Existing older copper is then used to delivery broadband right into the property.
In more recent times from 2016 onwards, we have seen the first use of existing HFC networks (hybrid fibre coaxial – or old cable TV network cabling) to connect homes to NBN. While regularly monitoring the data that NBN release on their website in 2017 it’s clear that more and more properties are now due to receive NBN by HFC. Some suburbs that were originally etched for FTTN and now coming up with HFC as their delivery method.
2017 though has now seen the introduction of FTTdP (fibre to the distribution) rollout information which will start going live in 2017. This is where fibre optic cabling is pulled through the street using existing conduit. At the pit outside a property it is then connected to the existing copper that runs to that home or business. This means that the distance of copper needed is dramatically less that FTTN.
There is significant commentary about whether NBN will use FTTdP to replace FTTN rollout areas. Unfortunately until the rollout of FTTdP starts and NBN can understand the true cost of deplying this technology in the field – they are not committing to any more than the original rollout suburbs that they have announced. Check back here as time goes on and we’ll share new developments in this area.
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In some cases the modem that you have been using for ADSL services will not work with NBN. NBN uses a number of different technologies to connect to each and every property around Australia. You will need to know the type of technology used before you can establish if your modem will work or if you need a new modem.
For FTTP (fibre to the premises) technology you will need a modem that is capable to connecting to a WAN network. This is quite common and a lot of modems support connecting in this way. This type of connection (WAN) is also needed for Fixed Wireless NBN. This is where NBN is delivered wirelessly to your property.
If you have FTTN (fibre to the node) or FTTB (fibre to the basement) technology then you will need a modem that is VDSL compatible. It’s often easy to establish this on the box of the modem or a quick google search of your modem make and model.
Once the above has been established you should check with your NBN provider about any VLAN Tagging requirements. A lot of NBN providers require a VLAN Tagging rule to be enabled on your router in order to connect to their network. VLAN Tagging allows the provider to prioritise voice traffic over internet traffic is they need to. This means that when VOIP calls are being made on your service the quality is not affected if someone is downloading a movie, or consuming all of your bandwidth.
Most providers will offer an option of a pre-configured modem which will have all of the required settings already set up. This is highly recommended as often the NBN providers support staff can also support their recommended modems in the most efficient ways.
When considering an NBN modem you can also look at the features of the modem. One of the latest common additional features that good modems have is AC Wifi capabilities. With AC Wifi data can be transferred across the Wifi network faster than previous Wifi versions. It’s known as 5Ghtz which is an upgrade of 2.4Ghtz Wifi. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you will receive faster internet but transferring of data on your internal network will be significantly faster. It often means that you’ll receive a greater Wifi signal so if you have a large home or business this type of Wifi would be recommended. Not all devices support AC Wifi so an AC capable modem would also have the older 2.4Ghtz frequency so that older devices can still connect.
See a full list of NBN compatible routers here
When you get connected to the NBN you will need a modem or router. Deciding which to get will depend on how NBN is delivered to your property. Please note that no one gets a choice how they’ll receive NBN – this is decided upon by NBN Co themselves.
If you receive NBN by FTTP (fibre to the premises), HFC (hybrid fibre coaxial), or Fixed Wireless you will need a WAN capable router to connect to the NBN equipment that will be installed inside your property. These are widely available and some older ADSL modems can be switched to WAN modem and an existing LAN port can be used to connect via WAN to your NBN equipment. Consult the userguide for information on this. Alternatively if you are look for a device for the first time, simply ensure that it supports WAN and you’ll be fine.
If you are to receive NBN by FTTN or FTTB technology then you will require a VDSL capable modem. Often older ADSL modems will not work for VDSL and will need to be replaced. Usually VDSL would be clearly marked on the box or documentation for a modem so you can easily tell if it will be compatible.
A vast majority of new modems now being sold on the Australia market support WAN, VDSL and ADSL technologies so that they are future proof if you need to move between properties and receive internet in a different way. If you have purchased a modem in the last 2 years chances are that it’ll be compatible – but definitely check first.
NBN providers are also providing NBN ready modems when you sign up. Either a no cost upfront or for a charge. If they are provided at no cost there will likely be a lengthy contract to commit to, and for those where the modem is charged the plans are often on no contract. It’s also easy to read reviews about the modems that are being provided before you make up your mind.
At the time of writing there isn’t too much known about FTTdP (fibre to the distribution point). Perhaps a different modem/router device will be required for this. Check back as times goes on and we’ll add more information on fibre to the distribution point as it becomes available.