How to choose the right nbn™ speed for your business

April 28th, 2017 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

What’s the difference between MBps and Mbps? Should you get Tier 1 or Tier 2 nbnTM? And how much data cap will your business use? You’ll find the answer to all these questions and more in this guide for choosing the right nbnTM speed for your organisation.

What is superfast broadband?

Superfast broadband is any broadband service that provides 25Mbps or more downstream. When you hear someone talk about ‘internet speeds’ they’re actually talking about an allocation of bandwidth. The more bandwidth, the more you can do ‘simultaneously’ with your internet.

The great thing about nbnTM and other fibre optic networks is that there is very little degradation in signal strength, meaning you can get speeds (bandwidth) close to what you are actually allocated.

nbn™ Tiers

According to Whistleout.com.au there are 5 tiers of NBNTM speeds:

  • Tier 1: 12 Mbps
  • Tier 2/3: 25Mbps
  • Tier 4: 50Mbps
  • Tier 5: 100Mbps

However, speeds less than 25Mbps are not considered high speed internet by the nbnTM. Instead, they list a more simplified version on their wholesale page.

  • nbnTM 25: 25 Mbps
  • nbnTM 50: 50 Mbps
  • nbnTM 100: 100 Mbps

These are the three most common types of nbnTM speed offered by ISPs. Let’s take a look at what you can expect from each tier.

Tier 1: 25 Mbps nbn™

At 25 Mbps you can stream high definition films, though it’s not suitable for more than one stream or businesses where many devices are competing for bandwidth. That said, if you have minimal needs you will have no problem with the following:

  • Web browsing
  • Email
  • Downloading updates for your computer / phone

While there’s no real limit to the number of devices you can have on your business network, 25 Mbps nbn™ is more suitable for micro-businesses, or ones not interested in data intensive tasks.

What data cap should I get for 25Mbps?

If you plan on watching 10 high definition films a month and some TV you’ll want to consider at least 200GB. 300GB is probably about perfect. 500GB would be overkill unless you’re a heavy user.

Tier 2: 50 Mbps nbn™

Ideal for a business that wants to have two simultaneous video streams, or mixed use with multiple users at the same time. It’s a nice middle ground, though larger businesses might not find it meets their needs all the time. At 50 Mbps you will be able to:

  • Video conference
  • Send and receive large files
  • Connect to your work VPN
  • Do usual web browsing and email etc.

It’s important to note that while Tier 2 can do all these things well, you might not be able to do them all at once.

What data cap should I get for 50Mbps?

For businesses with many users, 800GB – 1TB is ideal. Smaller businesses that just want the best bandwidth for video conferencing and large file transfers can look at 500GB, while a single user can easily get away with 300GB.

What’s the difference between Mbps and MBps?

Mbps stands for megabits per second and is used when talking about internet speeds or bandwidth allocation.

MBps stands for Megabytes per second and is commonly used in reference to the size of a file and the amount of data transferred over time. Right now, you only need to worry about Mbps.

File types and download times

With all these numbers and terms swirling round it’s not easy to get a grip on what it all means in the real world. Let’s take a look at some common file types and what they mean at our three nbnTM speed tiers.

Basic Webpage (1 MB)

  • 25 Mbps: < 1 second to load
  • 50 Mbps: < 1 second to load
  • 100 Mbps: < 1 second to load

Standard MP3 song (5 MB)

  • 25 Mbps: < 1 second to load
  • 50 Mbps: < 1 second to load
  • 100 Mbps: < 1 second to load

1 hour TV show (1 GB)

  • 25 Mbps: 5 minutes to load
  • 50 Mbps: 2.5 minutes to load
  • 100 Mbps: 1 minute to load

1080p High Definition (HD) film (12 GB)

  • 25 Mbps: 1 hour to load
  • 50 Mbps: 46 minutes to load
  • 100 Mbps: 32 minutes to load

As you can see, it’s entirely possible to stream a HD movie at 25 Mpbs. But remember that internet speeds are really about bandwidth allocation. If you have more than one device using the internet at the same time, then your bandwidth is allocated across all those devices. If you have 2 streams going on 25 Mpbs, you’re unlikely to get the kind of service you want, as you have to split that bandwidth allocation.

TL:DR – Your nbnTM speed is a total number shared among devices, not a dedicated speed for every device.

Understanding the difference between speed and data cap

Like most internet services, be they ADSL, cable or even the data service on your phone, nbnTM connections come with a data cap. It might be anywhere from 25GB to 1TB or even unlimited. This number is not related to your internet speed (i.e 25Mbps, 50Mbps etc). It is the total amount of data you can download (or download and upload) per month.

It’s important to know what both numbers mean when choosing your nbnTM package.

Choose conservatively

In most cases, it’s easier to upgrade your service rather than downgrade. Start with a more conservative approach to your nbnTM needs, and if you find over time you’re not getting the bandwidth you need (or regularly exceeding your cap), then contact your provider for an upgrade.

To speak to one of our expert team about which plans
are best suited to you, contact us today.

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About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

Aaron works from an office in the tropical Northern Territory, inciting intense jealousy from his Victorian workmates during winter. He’s an expert in IT solutions from the ground up. Aaron is National Sales Manager of Aussie Broadband, which specialises in bespoke telco solutions for corporate and government customers.