Fixed wireless NBN: Everything you need to know

Select Australians in regional areas will get their NBN via fixed wireless connections. Here’s what you need to know about fixed wireless NBN.

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How does fixed wireless NBN work?

Like Satellite NBN services, fixed wireless NBN is designed primarily for regional locations that for reasons of distance cannot or will not be connected to fixed line (FTTP, FTTN or HFC Cable) NBN services.

To enable a fixed wireless connection, an nbn technician will install an antenna at an optimal location on the target building, whether that be on the roof, on a wall or underneath a gutter. Occasionally, the antenna may be installed on a neighbouring building such as a garage or shed for a better connection. The antenna will then be wired to a connection box within the relevant building which will then in turn connect to your NBN modem.

In some instances, it is not possible to achieve a reliable fixed wireless connection with an antenna installed on the main building of a particular premises. Residents can instead opt for a non-standard installation, where the antenna is placed on another building on the property or mounted on its own pole. From there, the nbn technician will lay cables to the main premises where the nbn connection box will reside. Non-standard installations come with an additional fee and must be performed by nbn-approved personnel.

Fixed wireless NBN uses 4G LTE connectivity, similar to the 4G LTE provided by mobile broadband providers. With fixed wireless, an NBN base station is designed to service a fixed number of premises within a single area. Because of that fixed number of premises, the throughput of a fixed wireless NBN connection should be more consistent than that of a mobile broadband connection.

The fact that it utilises wireless technology still gives it scope for speeds to vary, especially depending on the other users connected to a base station, but it should be more reliable than mobile where a large number of users may be connected at a given time.

How fast is fixed wireless NBN?

The speeds for fixed wireless NBN services currently sit at three speed tiers: Basic (12MBps down/1Mbps up), Standard (25Mbps down/5Mbps up) and Standard Plus (50Mbps down and 20Mbps up). As with any broadband technology, those figures represent theoretical maximums rather than real-world performance. However, typical evening speeds provided by telcos are only accurate for fixed line services, as wireless technologies are usually more prone to variable speeds. As a general rule of thumb, fixed wireless users can expect speeds equal to or less than fixed line services on the same speed tier.

NBN Speed Tier Compare plans
Basic (Similar to ADSL2+)
Basic plans
Standard (Typical moderate user)
Standard plans
Standard Plus (Families, streaming enthusiasts)
Standard Plus plans

Where is fixed wireless NBN available?

As with every other aspect of the NBN, your access to fixed wireless NBN services will depend on your precise location. You don’t get to choose between technology types when connecting to the NBN, but broadly speaking fixed wireless rollouts are meant to serve around 4 percent of the Australian population, mostly in semi-remote regional areas. People living in more remote regions will be offered satellite NBN while those in larger population centres will either be served with FTTP NBN or FTTN NBN. For specific information about the broadband technologies available at your property, enter your address into our broadband plan engine and see what plans are available.

How can I compare fixed wireless NBN plans?

    • Speed

Fixed wireless NBN is offered at three speed tiers, with Basic (nbn12) plans typically being cheaper than their faster Standard (nbn25) or Standard Plus (nbn50) counterparts. The addition of Standard Plus fixed wireless offerings does depend on availability on a given fixed wireless tower, however, but most towers should now support it.

    • Cost

If you want the fastest possible fixed wireless plan you will typically pay more than you would for the entry level Basic plans. That's not the only cost to bring to a comparison, however, as you also should consider the provided data quota with each plan to gauge the overall true cost of a plan. Unlike mobile broadband you shouldn't pay through the nose for fixed wireless NBN data, but choosing a plan appropriate to your likely data usage needs is wise.

Will I need a new modem for fixed wireless NBN?

The installation of a fixed wireless NBN connection involves the installation of both an NBN connection box inside your home or remote office, as well as an antenna on the roof. That can then be connected to a wireless gateway. One is typically provided by your ISP, but since the ports on a standard fixed wireless nbn connection box are normal Ethernet ports, you could also use your own equipment if you prefer.

Check out what NBN fixed wireless plans are available

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    NezzaAugust 31, 2017

    Hi I am in an nbn coverage but apparently my address is not on that nbn data base and needs to be added what does that mean

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      HaroldSeptember 4, 2017Staff

      Hi Nezza,

      Thank you for your inquiry.

      If you check your address and the nbn™ network is not available at your premises, follow the prompts to register your email address with us. You will then receive email updates on when the service is available in your area.

      I hope this information has helped.

      Cheers,
      Harold18

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