Review: The National Broadband Network

 In Internet

What is the National Broadband Network (NBN)

We live in a “need for speed” era in which people expect speedier and more reliable access to internet services such as web pages, YouTube videos, cyber games etc. Because of this, the government announced the National Broadband Network (NBN) Scheme a few years ago. Until recently, the NBN has finally been rolled out to the general public; however I believe many of you still have little idea about what the NBN is and how you would benefit from it. If so, this is the article for you. We’ll also address some of your potential questions, such as what the adopted technologies are, how the overall performance is, costs etc.

Figure 1 NBN Speed Test Results

Figure 1 NBN Speed Test Results

What is the National Broadband Network (NBN)?

The NBN is the national network of communication infrastructure that utilises fibre optic, fixed wireless and satellite technology to speed up the Internet connections, which substantially benefit both commercial and individual users. The NBN involves three forms of connections to serve residents living in the different areas of Australia. We’ll elaborate on them separately:

1.      Fibre Optic

Optical Fibre vs. Copper
Name Copper Optical Fibre
Bandwidth 10 Mbsp – 10 Gbps 100 Mbps  – 100 Gbps
Max. Distance 100 meters 1000,000 meters
Spark Hazard Hazardous No spark hazard
Weight Heavy 1/8th weight of
Noise Emits Noise Noise Immune
Lifecycle 5 years 30 – 50 years
Installation Skills Required Low High
Installation Cost Low High
Maintenance Cost High Low

Over 90 per cent of Australian premises will be connected with fibre optic cables. With the connection of optical fibre cables, users can experience fast upload and download speeds at a minimum of 100 Megabits per second and can be even further upgraded to 1 Gigabits per second by partially upgrading hardware. By contrast, the old connection, copper network, usually provides around 25 Megabits per second, which is less enjoyable and pleasant for users. Furthermore, copper wires in terms of material durability can be affected by humidity and extreme heat; thereby data speed being reduced, while fibre cables are much more tolerant of various and changing conditions. Moreover, there is much less data loss during the transmission using optical fibre cables in comparison with using copper wire transmission.

As the statistics presented in the table above show (i.e. table 2), using optical fibre results in less buffering and less waiting time while browsing webpages. In other words, it contributes to a more delightful internet surfing experience. Speaking of the cons, relatively more technical skills are required for electricians/technicians when installing. Plus, the installation cost is more expensive; however, as prices for hardware have been steadily dropping, I believe optical fibre will be more affordable in the near future.

1.      Fixed Wireless

For those living in the country, physical cable is not as accessible. For metropolitan residents, however, fixed wireless can help you out! Setting up an antenna on your roof is all you need to do. The antenna can receive wireless signals from a local NBN wireless tower. Because of wireless connections, download and upload speeds are slower than wired connections, which are around 12 Mbps and 1 Mbps respectively. The NBN wireless connection is only recommended when you cannot be connected to optical fibre cable.

2.      Satellite

Satellite NBN is a real “life saver” for those living in truly remote regions. People residing in some areas like the middle of the outback and the Great Barrier Reef haven’t had a good chance at accessing the Internet, and now with the aid of the NBN satellite they are able to access the basic broadband. However, accessing the Internet through satellite, has restrictions. Data quota is limited, plans are more expensive and data speeds are slower than wireless connections with up to 6 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.

 

NBN Plan Comparison

After the official rollout of NBN, customers are able to choose a plan from a range of providers. Below we list a few plans from popular providers so that you may have better understanding of price ranges, Internet quota, data speed and add-ons etc.

iinet

Figure 2 iinet NBN Plans

Figure 2 iinet NBN Plans

Telstra

Figure 3 Telstra NBN Plans

Figure 3 Telstra NBN Plans

Optus

Figure 4 Optus NBN Plans

Figure 4 Optus NBN Plansoptus 2

Dodo

Figure 5 dodo NBN Plans

Figure 5 dodo NBN Plans

 The NBN Coverage Check

You can visit www.nbnco.com.au to view the availability of the NBN in your area by typing in your exact address in the search bar. Below is a quick peek of the NBN availability in the Adelaide Region.

 map

Conclusion

You should now have some understanding about what the National Broadband Network is. It is a nationwide project supported and funded by the Australian Government to upgrade the existing network communication infrastructure to a completely new level, facilitating the super-fast internet access of residents living in all regions in Australia.

If you need more information or require support for the National Broadband Network, please contact our friendly Tech Team on 8269 5260 or email us at support@forerunner.com.au.

Add to shopping cart