NBN 50 plans can deliver high speeds, even for large families with relatively extensive Internet needs. This tier may be suitable for home offices, self-employed workers and small businesses, although the limited upload speed means some of these businesses might need to look at faster plans, depending on the nature of their work.
Is 50Mbps the right speed for me?
This speed tier may be ideal in the following situations:
- Large families or households with relatively extensive Internet needs, such as several people streaming videos at once or several people simultaneously streaming and downloading.
- Households whose Internet usage varies enough that network speeds sometimes get frustratingly slow, such as during peak times.
- Households with a lot of high quality video streaming as well as other Internet use.
- Business or homes that find 25Mbps plans to be inadequate and 50Mbps to be worth the extra cost.
- Small businesses, home workers or other businesses that require reliable download speeds but don’t particularly need fast uploads.
Will I get 50Mbps all the time?
The actual speed you get from your plan might be different from the advertised 50Mbps. This is generally the case with all providers and all plans because there are many factors that can impact Internet speeds.
Some of these may be internal factors, which you can often adjust, while others are external factors beyond your control.
- Wi-Fi interference. A thick wall (or floor) between the source of your wireless signal and your device might impact speeds or connectivity as can the distance between the two. Wireless signal extenders can help with this as can simply moving the equipment around until it works better.
- Simultaneous usage. 50Mbps is the total speed of the plan. One person alone might find it difficult to reach this limit, but several people might be able to do it easily, especially when simultaneously using the Internet on multiple devices, such as streaming a show on TV while downloading something on a computer.
- Device problems. Your modem might be aging and out of date, in which case it might not be capable of using your 50Mbps plan to its fullest extent. Or, the problem might be with the device you are using to stream Internet content. The device might be infected with malware or a virus, or it could be too old or not functioning properly.
- Building wiring. Aging or corroded in-premises wiring can also limit the speed of your plan. The likelihood of this impacting your speeds increases the faster your plan is.
- Type of connection. The NBN uses different technologies in different locations, which can affect your network speed. With a “fibre to the node” connection, your distance from the node can affect your Internet speed. These factors might generally affect the maximum speeds your home is capable of receiving, so it can be more relevant for 100Mbps plans than for 50Mbps plans.
- Local congestion. Network congestion in your area is exactly what it sounds like. Many people in your area are using the Internet all at once, and the traffic slows down as it gets more crowded.
- Provider congestion. Congestion can also occur on the provider’s end, where many people are trying to access their website or content all at once.
What's the difference between upload and download speeds?
Download speeds are how quickly you can get content from elsewhere into your home, such as when downloading a game or streaming TV. Upload speeds are how quickly you can send information out of your network to elsewhere, such as when sending an email.
When you look at each NBN speed tier, it’s frequently listed with two numbers. 50Mbps plans, for example, are often written as 50/20Mbps. This specifies a plan with a maximum download speed of 50Mbps and a maximum upload speed of 20Mbps.
For everyday household use, upload speeds generally aren't as important as download speeds. However, in some cases, such as for a home business that needs to send high quality pictures or videos over the Internet, plan suitability may be determined by the upload speeds as well as the download speeds.
What are my alternatives?
|Tier||Max Download||Max Upload|
Do I need to get new hardware to receive NBN 50?
If you’re switching to an NBN plan, then new hardware might be essential. If you’re switching between NBN plans, then your existing hardware might be fine, although not necessarily ideal.
There are two main pieces of Internet hardware to think about.
- Your modem. This is the hardware that translates the NBN connection into a usable form. It needs to be have dual ADSL and NBN capability, so if you’re using a pre-NBN modem, then you will likely need a new one. Your NBN provider will generally be able to arrange this as well as provide modem troubleshooting and support.
- Your router. This is the hardware that sends the Internet around your premises. It is not essential to upgrade it for the NBN, but if it’s an older model, then an upgrade might be necessary in order to achieve the advertised speeds.
How do I switch to the NBN?
Once the NBN is available in your area, you will be given 18 months to move your services over and switch plans before being disconnected. Check whether your address is ready for the NBN and read our complete guide on switching to the NBN.