NBN Multi-Technology Mix comparison

See how the different technologies in NBN's Multi-Technology Mix stack up against one another.

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The National Broadband Network (NBN) is currently rolling out across Australia using a mix of technologies, utilising and upgrading parts of the existing copper and cable networks to complete the network sooner than would be possible with a wholly new fibre rollout. However, what you can achieve and expect may differ across the various NBN technologies being used in each area.

What is the NBN?

The National Broadband Network is Australia’s new high-speed broadband network. Its purpose is to replace or upgrade the existing telecommunications networks that we currently use to receive phone services and to access the Internet.

The upgrade to the National Broadband Network is compulsory and isn't done automatically. The existing copper phone network and ADSL/2+ services delivered over the network will be switched off 18 months after the NBN goes live in a particular area. However, you'll get plenty of warning from your existing provider and from nbn™ who will mail you to notify you of the disconnection.

Depending on the area you're in, the NBN technology and upgrade process may differ. If you're unsure what technology your area will be covered by, contact your service provider or nbn™ to find out.
Do our household usage quiz to find the perfect NBN plan for your needs..

Here at Finder, we've done a detailed comparison of the different technologies being used in the National Broadband Network to break down the jargon and to make your upgrade process easier.

How does each NBN technology work?

Click the tabs for an explanation and diagram of each NBN technology.

nbn-fttn

Fibre to the Network (FTTN). With FTTN, fibre-optic cable runs to the node or network equipment box on your street before switching to the existing copper underground to cover the remaining distance to your premises. Speeds on an FTTN connection essentially hinge on how close your premises is to the node: the closer you are, the closer you will get to the theoretical maximum speeds of 100Mbps/40Mbps available on a Premium NBN connection. This process has affectionately become known as "node lotto". The quality of the copper line in your street can also impact performance.

Note that even if you do happen to have the node directly in front of your house, the copper might still run down the street before looping back to your premises. It's best to check with your ISP on what your actual line distance is so that you can get a better idea of what speeds you can expect to receive.

Over 50% of Australians will be connected to the NBN via FTTN. A general rule of thumb is that if you connect to the Internet with an ADSL connection, then there's a good chance you'll end up with a FTTN connection to the NBN.

nbn-hfc

Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC). HFC, also simply referred to as "cable", works in much the same way as FTTN in that it uses fibre-optic cable all the way to a central node in a neighbourhood, but coaxial cable is then used instead of copper to connect the premises to the node. Coaxial has traditionally been used to deliver pay TV services such as Foxtel and the likes of Telstra and Optus have both offered cable Internet over those very same coaxial lines.

Roughly 27% of Australian premises will be connected to the NBN through HFC. HFC is also compatible with new technologies, such as DOCSIS 3.1, which has the potential to offer gigabit speeds.

nbn-fttb

Fibre to the Building (FTTB). FTTB works in the same way as FTTN, but instead of installing the node on your street, it is installed in your building's basement or communications cupboard. To enable this type of connection, NBN installs active equipment (a DSLAM) to deliver the final connection over the copper network using vectored VDSL2 technology. Customers accessing an FTTB connection will need to purchase their own VDSL2 modem or use one supplied by their service provider. Access speeds achievable on FTTB range from a theoretical maximum of 12/1 Mbps with a Basic NBN connection up to a 100/40 Mbps with a Premium NBN connection. The actual speeds you'll see in practice will depend on many factors such as the quality of the copper wiring in the building, distance from the active equipment and any signal interference.

nbn-fttp

Fibre to the Premises/Home (FTTP/FTTH). Running fibre-optic cable all the way to your home is essentially the gold standard of fibre Internet connections and this is precisely what an FTTP connection delivers. The fibre is either laid in the ground or comes to your home via overhead lines. FTTP connections can more consistently deliver advertised speeds and are not affected by the distance of your home to the broader network (also referred to as the "local fibre access node"). On an FTTP connection, you should consistently get the speeds you pay for – provided your ISP has bought enough network capacity to combat congestion during peak times, that is.

FTTP connections are also capable of faster download speeds than those currently offered: customers will eventually be able to get connections as fast as 1Gbps, or 10 times faster than the other technologies being used for the National Broadband Network. Unfortunately, the chances of your area using FTTP are slim. Between 17% and 21% of premises will be connected to the NBN via FTTP.

nbn-fixed-wireless

Fixed Wireless and Satellite. Not to be confused with mobile broadband, fixed wireless is where a fibre-optic cable is run to a local transmission tower. The network signal is then transmitted wirelessly to a line of sight antenna fitted on the customer's roof. A single tower can service homes and businesses located within a maximum radius of 14km. Fixed wireless is primarily being used to connect rural and regional Australians to the NBN.

According to NBN Co, approximately 5% of premises will be connected to the NBN via fixed wireless. The fastest speeds fixed wireless customers can hope to achieve are provided with a Standard Plus (nbn50) NBN connection, and can theoretically go as high as 50Mbps for downloads and 20Mbps for uploads. That said, wireless services are more susceptible to interference than fixed-line services, and real-world speeds are likely to be much lower than the stated maximums.

Meanwhile, NBN Co's satellite service called Sky Muster uses two satellites to deliver Internet service to homes and businesses located in remote or rural locations where premises are spread out geographically over many square kilometres. A satellite dish is installed on the premises which receives the NBN network signal from the Sky Muster satellite.

Sky Muster customers can choose between Basic and Standard NBN connections. This equates to theoretical maximum speeds of 25Mbps for downloads and 5Mbps for uploads, but again, the wire-free nature of satellite means you're unlikely to see such high speeds in practice. Around 2% of Australians or 400,000 homes and businesses will be connected to the NBN through satellite.

TechnologyPopulation coveredMaximum theoretical download speedsMaximum theoretical upload speeds
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25%1 Gbps 400 Mbps
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29%100 Mbps40 Mbps
(up to 40 Mbps)
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11%100 Mbps40 Mbps
Fibre to the Curb/Kerb
(FTTC)
~4%100Mbps 40Mbps
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27%100 Mbps 40 Mbps
Fixed Wireless~5%50 Mbps20 Mbps
Long Term Satellite~3%25 Mbps5 Mbps
TechnologyPopulation coveredTechnician Installation required
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25%Yes
An NBN technician will come out to install the external NBN utility box and internal NBN connection box.
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29%No
(Unless speeds fail to reach the mandated 25 Mbps download speed requirement. In that case, NBN will install a central filter at the premises.)
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11%No
(Unless speeds fail to reach the mandated 25 Mbps download speed requirement. In that case, NBN will install a central filter at the premises.)
Fibre to the Curb/Kerb
(FTTC)
~4%Varies from connection to connection.
(Some FTTC services can be connected by the user, others require a technician to perform additional work)
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27%No
Fixed Wireless~5%Yes
An NBN technician will come out to install the NBN wireless antenna on the rooftop and internal NBN connection box.
Long Term Satellite~3%Yes
An NBN technician will come out to install the NBN satellite dish on the rooftop and internal NBN connection box.
TechnologyPopulation coveredInternetPhone
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25% nbn™ supplied NTD
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
nbn™ supplied NTD
Plug in existing phone to NTD
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29% ISP supplied (or BYO) modem ISP supplied (or BYO) modem
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11% ISP supplied (or BYO) modem ISP supplied (or BYO) modem
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Fibre to the Curb/Kerb
(FTTC)
~4%nbn™ supplied connection device
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
nbn™ supplied connection device
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27% nbn™ supplied NTD
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
Unknown
Fixed Wireless~5% nbn™ supplied NTD
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Phone lines will continue functioning
Long Term Satellite~3% nbn™ supplied NTD
ISP supplied (or BYO) router
ISP supplied (or BYO) modem
VoIP ATA to plug in existing phones
Phone lines will continue functioning
TechnologyPopulation coveredInternetPhone
(incl. Triple-0)
Fibre to the Premises
(FTTP)
~25%
With the backup battery option, users can plug their computers directly to the nbn™ connection box to continue using the Internet during a power outage.

With the backup battery option, users can continue making phone calls during a power outage using a traditional phone set plugged directly into the nbn™ connection box.
Fibre to the Node
(FTTN)
~29%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Node.

nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Node.
Fibre to the Basement
(FTTB)
~11%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Basement.

nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Basement.
Fibre to the Curb/Kerb
(FTTC)
~4%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Curb.

nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for Fibre to the Curb.
Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial
(HFC)
~27%UnknownUnknown
Fixed Wireless~5%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for NBN Fixed Wireless.

However, existing phone services delivered over Telstra's phone network will continue operation as normal
Long Term Satellite~3%
nbn™ does not provide a battery backup option for NBN Satellite.

However, existing phone services delivered over Telstra's phone network will continue operation as normal

NBN Speeds

Across the fixed-line networks, the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) and NBN Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) networks are capable of delivering speeds in excess of 100Mbps download and 40Mbps upload. Roughly 25% of Australian premises will receive a new Fibre to the Premises connection, while an additional 27% of premises who have access to Telstra and Optus' cable TV networks will be upgraded to be able to access those speeds.

The remaining portion of the NBN fixed-line footprint will utilise a mixture of Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) and Fibre to the Node (FTTN). The speeds that end users can expect from the NBN will vary depending on the customers' distance from the NBN node. nbn™ has a mandated requirement to deliver speeds of at least 25/5 Mbps to all customers across the NBN network.

The NBN Fixed Wireless and Long Term Satellite service support Basic and Standard NBN connections with maximum theoretical speeds of 25/5 Mbps to all customers. Some fixed wireless services also support Standard Plus connections for theoretical maximum speeds of 50/20 Mbps.

NBN Installation

An NBN technician installing a Fixed Wireless antenna on a rooftop

As nbn™ rolls out new infrastructure parts of its network, an NBN technician may have to come out to your premises to connect you to the National Broadband Network.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) footprint, an NBN technician may have to come and install the external NBN utility box (if not already installed) as well as the internal NBN connection box to connect you to the NBN. Similarly, in the NBN Fixed Wireless and NBN Satellite footprints, an NBN technician will come to your premises to install a rooftop antenna or satellite dish and an NBN connection box inside the user's premises.

The NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and NBN Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) technologies do not typically require a technician installation. Normally, your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will provide you with a new VDSL modem to replace your existing ADSL/ADSL2+ modem. Once NBN switches on your area, simply swap over to your new modem and your service will be up and running again.

In the case where your NBN FTTN or FTTB service is unable to deliver speeds of 25/5 Mbps, nbn™ may send out technicians to remediate (or repair) your phone line.

NBN Equipment

NBN Fibre Connection Box

As you migrate over to the NBN, your existing networking equipment such as routers and modems may need to be upgraded to support the new network.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fixed Wireless or Satellite footprints, your Internet connection will be delivered to a single port on the NBN-provided connection box (or NTD). To share your Internet connection with multiple devices within your home, you may need a new NBN-compatible router with Wi-Fi functionality. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) may supply you with a compatible router as part of your plan, or you may need to purchase the router yourself.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) or Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) footprints, your Internet connection will be delivered to the first phone port at your premises. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) should provide you with an NBN-compatible VDSL modem.

During a Power Outage

Unlike your current phone service with Telstra, not all technologies in NBN's Multi-Technology Mix will continue working during a power outage.

If you're in the NBN Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) footprint, you can choose to install the optional NBN Battery Backup Unit to continue receiving phone and internet services in the event of a power blackout. For phone services, simply plug in a traditional corded phone to one of the NBN voice ports on the NBN Connection Box. For internet services, plug your laptop directly into the data port on the NBN Connection Box using an ethernet cable to continue accessing the Internet.

In all NBN other footprints, nbn™ does not provide a Battery Backup option. You may wish to purchase an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) to continue powering your networking equipment - however, nbn™ does not guarantee that their network is accessible during a power outage.

Migrating to the NBN is compulsory

Moving to the National Broadband Network (NBN) is compulsory and the process is not automatic. We've written a detailed NBN upgrade guide to help you through the process of switching to the National Broadband Network. Depending on the area you're in, the technology and upgrade process may differ.

A standard NBN installation is free of charge. However, some ISPs may decide to charge a set-up fee or sign you up to a long-term contract. There are also service providers who offer free trials and no-contract options. If you find a better NBN deal, you may want to ask your current service provider to see if they're willing to match the price.

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4 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    SWJuly 12, 2017

    I’m from Victoria, roll-out map indicates my address ‘connected’ in purple while tracker says ‘there is still work to be done’. No idea why the discrepancies but would like to hear any opinion from an expert on the status or ETA of NBN deployment in my area.

    Thanks.

    • Default Gravatar
      JonathanJuly 26, 2017

      Hello SW,

      Thank you for your inquiry today.

      I have checked our NBN Roll-Out Map and confirmed these results:

      nbnTM is expected to commence construction in some parts of this suburb within 3 years.

      Ready for Service: Not Available
      Disconnection Date: 08 Feb 2019
      Rollout Type: Fixed Line

      You may send an inquiry to NBN Co website to confirm the results.

      Hope this helps.

      Cheers,
      Jonathan

  2. Default Gravatar
    BarryDecember 23, 2015

    I own a unit in a Strata Title building and the NBN is getting close. I assume we will be supplied with FTTB, but I would like to have FTTP speeds.

    It is unclear whether FTTB will supply these speeds. Can you tell me if this is possible?

    Barry

    • Avatarfinder Customer Care
      KennethJanuary 13, 2016Staff

      Hi Barry,

      Thanks for your question.

      NBN will guarantee speeds of at least 25/5 Mbps to all Fibre to the Basement (FTTB) premises and will also offer speeds of up to 100 Mbps / 40 Mbps on FTTB — subject to a service qualification check. The availability of these higher speeds depend on factors like the condition of the copper cable to your home and the distance to your assigned node.

      Once the NBN is available and you still find that the speeds achieved are inadequate for your needs, NBN also provides an option to upgrade the technology offering to Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) at your own cost. This is known as the Technology Choice Program and more information on this can be found on the NBN website.

      I hope this has helped.

      Cheers,
      Ken

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