Are you ready for the nbn™? The nbn™ is currently rolling out across Australia. Unlike network options which use a single system, the nbn™ functions using a combination of fibre optic, fixed wireless, and satellite infrastructure to deliver quality Internet to all parts of Australia. Ultimately, nbn™ is intended to replace the existing broadband technology with a more reliable---and much faster---broadband service. For many, this means switching from the very popular ADSL2+ to nbn™. While the change is coming no matter what, there’s reason to rejoice. There are many benefits that the nbn™ will bring: namely, faster speeds.

It is anticipated that the full nbn™ rollout should be near completion by 2020, and a large portion of the country is already connected. The aim is to connect all of Australia, providing super high speed Internet access to the majority of urban and suburban Australian households and businesses. Those in rural or regional areas will enjoy faster speeds as well, although with different connection options such as fixed wireless or satellite. For some rural locations, the nbn™ will introduce the first ever broadband-level Internet speeds in the area. This is an exciting step.

Many Australians are embracing or looking forward to the new system, especially with the nbn™ promising to supply much faster speeds. The main question remains: just how fast will the nbn™ be? And how will it compare to ADSL2+?

What is the nbn™ ?

First, let’s talk about the basics of the nbn™.

Today, there are several different ways for households and businesses to connect to the Internet. These include cable, fixed line ADSL2+, satellite, and fibre optic broadband, among others. Traditionally, your connection works off one or two of these technologies. Not all of them are compatible, and certain technologies aren’t available everywhere, so what you use generally depends on where you live. Interestingly, the nbn™ will make use of a combination of these approaches. In order to connect the whole of Australia, the nbn™ will incorporate fixed fibre optic cable, copper cable, fixed wireless broadband, and satellite.

But it isn’t as complicated as it sounds. All you really need to know is that the nbn™ will be implemented everywhere, and once it has been established in your area, it’s time for you to get connected. When nbn™ is available for your property, you’ll be notified, and you’ll need to make the switch within 18 months. After this 18-month period, existing Internet and phone services will be shut off. You can contact your local telco to get you set up on an nbn™ plan. These plans are likely to be similar to your existing Internet packages, and you can choose your preferred Internet Service Provider. Since the whole of the country is getting connected via the nbn™, it should become easier and easier to get sorted.

get online with nbn
The nbn™ will connect the whole of Australia.

nbn™ vs ADSL: The Essential Differences

Many Australians are currently accessing the Internet via ADSL2+ (the latest version of ADSL). This popular technology is one of the fastest options today, however, it has its limitations. The greatest of these is that ADSL2+ is based on existing copper wiring---a wiring system originally installed and intended to be used solely for the telephone. Copper wiring, while it works for network connectivity, is not the most efficient method of transferring data. The nbn™ will replace this copper ADSL2+ infrastructure, (although it will make use of portions of the existing wiring), opting for the more cutting-edge fibre optic wiring. This essentially means that ADSL2+, as we know it now, will essentially become an obsolete technology.

The nbn™, conversely, uses a multifaceted approach, designed specifically to meet the demands of high speed traffic, which has only been growing over the year. Unlike a system originally built for telephone communication, the nbn™ has been developed with the web in mind and is geared directly to the transfer of Internet data. Primarily, the nbn™ will use fibre optic cables to transfer data, which eliminates the major problems of copper-centric ADSL2+. Although, as we’ll see later, other elements will still have a hand in transmission.

While the nbn™ will be capable of faster overall speeds, Australians shouldn’t see a massive difference in pricing. The prices for nbn compare very well with current ADSL2+ costs; in fact, some of the more inexpensive nbn™ plans have been shown to offer speeds comparable to those on ADSL2+. Users will also have the option of paying more for faster speeds.

The nbn™ and ADSL2+ have different systems of connection, but by and large, the biggest difference between the two technologies is the potential for speed.


nbn™ vs ADSL Speeds


Since copper wiring was never intended to move significant amounts of data, it carries with it limitations. ADSL2+ may be slower or faster depending upon one’s location from the exchange or DSLAM. The DSLAM is where the copper wires from your home and the fibre optic cables from your ISP (Internet Service Provider) meet. The further away the DSLAM or exchange is from your home, the slower and less reliable your Internet speeds are likely to be. This is certainly a disadvantage for those who don’t live in close proximity to the exchange. Even a distance of 1km could create issues.

nbn™, working over a fibre optic network, is far less affected by distance to the exchange. (It also remains more steadfast against severe weather issues, which can sometimes have an impact upon ADSL2+). With a primarily fibre-based network, data will be transferred more rapidly, regardless of the location of an exchange.

What about multiple users? With ADSL2+, a typical connection can handle as many as 3 high-definition video streams at the same time. The nbn™ will drastically expand bandwidth, enabling more users to connect to the Internet simultaneously, all while enjoying solid high speeds. With the growth of technologies like 4K TVs, greater bandwidth will also be required for better streaming. The nbn™ is equipped to support these advancements. Good new for those in the market for a new TV.

Connecting Australia
The speedier nbn™ will make it easier for the whole family to get online.

nbn™ Speed vs ADSL: Which Will Be Faster?

Just how fast will the nbn™ be?

One reason for the faster speeds on the nbn™ is due to its heavy reliance on fiber optic cable. This fibre allows for rapid-fire connection. nbn™ fibre services are capable of offering speeds up to 4 times faster than ADSL2+. 93% of Australian premises will move from a network comprising mostly of copper to the new fibre network, while the remaining 7% of homes and retail spaces (mostly rural properties) will be serviced by a combination of fixed wireless and satellite services.

By 2020, 90% of households in Australia should be receiving Internet speeds of 50Mbps on the nbn™. Compare that with the current average speed for ADSL2+ users, which hovers around 9 Mbps, with a maximum speed of 24 Mbps. And the nbn™ tiers actually promise as much as 100 Mbps, depending on your plan.

Here are the current tiers, how they translate to real-world use, and who might be best suited for each tier:





nbn™ 12- Basic Evening Speed

The most basic package. Good for a small household with few devices. Equivalent to average ADSL2+ speeds

12 Mbps

7 Mbps (peak)

11 Mbps (off-peak)

nbn™ 25- Standard Evening Speed

A ‘standard’ plan. Covering the basics for multiple users, including video streaming. This is suggested as the minimum needed for streaming 4K video on a service such as Netflix.

25 Mbps

15 Mbps (peak)

22 Mbps (off-peak)

nbn™ 50- Standard Plus Evening Speed

The next step up. This is excellent for households with multiple active Internet users. Good for: online gaming, streaming HD video, uploading large files.

50 Mbps

30 Mbps (peak)

45 Mbps (off-peak)

nbn™ 100- Premium Evening Speed

The fastest nbn™ option and the biggest difference from ADSL2+ speeds. Good for large households, those who are very heavy Internet users such as serious gamers, or those who work from home.

100 Mbps

60 Mbps (peak)

90 Mbps (off-peak)

*‘Evening speed’ or peak, refers to the peak hours of the day when more users tend to be online at home. This accounts for a slower Internet experience during those times (much like a traffic jam).

The speeds listed offer general guidelines. A wide variety of factors could potentially affect your actual Internet speeds. These include the time of day, the size of the upload/download, which Internet Service Provider you’re using, your speed tier, the configuration of your network (as set by your ISP), and how many people in your home are using the Internet at the same time.

Connecting to nbn™: The Various Options

Once the nbn™ appears in your area, you’ll use one of the following technologies to connect. These many acronyms may appear confusing at first, but your local ISP will know exactly what you need to get online.

The majority of single-family homes will receive fibre to the node (FTTN) nbn™.  Similar to ADSL2+. fibre optic cable connects to a local node in your area called a connection cabinet. This then links with the existing copper wires connected to your property. Using VDSL (vectored or enhanced DSL) technology, interference is avoided on these lines, speeding things up. On this system, you will require a new VDSL modem, but no new hardware will have to be installed in the home.

This is a newer technology than FTTN. Instead of having to dig into lawns and driveways, fibre to the curb (FTTC) is a setup in which the fibre connects directly to the telecom pit in front of the property. It uses less copper than FTTN and does not require a powered cabinet. FTTC is also sometimes known as ‘fibre to the destination point’ (FTTdp) or 'fibre to the driveway.'

Fibre to the premises (FTTP) is the most direct of the connections. In FTTP, fibre optic cable runs right to the property itself. This option requires an 'nbn™ utility box' mounted on your property’s exterior, as well as an 'nbn™ connection box' installed inside.

Apartments, or other properties with multiple dwelling spaces, are likely to use FTTB or ‘fibre to the building’. Each property will have a primary connection point to which the fibre is run, and this will link to each individual unit. FTTB can also refer to ‘fibre to the basement.’

Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial or HFC is also basically known as ‘cable.’ This network technology is already in use in many homes and is being repurposed to be part of the nbn™.

Australians in rural and regional areas will commonly use satellite or fixed wireless. Fixed wireless uses a roof antenna to connect to the local nbn™ wireless tower.

Satellite is an effective option in rural areas. Sky Muster satellite is already in use, delivering faster broadband to remote regions of Australia. This technology uses a satellite dish on the premises to receive the internet from a ground transmitter in another location.

Are You Ready for the nbn™?

Has the nbn™ reached your area? You can find out here. Changing from ADSL to nbn™ (or any other system) doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply get in touch with your preferred provider and get onboard Australia’s fastest, most advanced network.

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