Nbn™ business connections explained

April 4th, 2019 - Get new posts sent straight to your inbox, click here. Aaron O'Keeffe

The nbn™ is employing a growing number of technologies in its continuing rollout across Australia. As of November 2018 there are seven different connection types in use, and the reason there are so many is because nbn co is trying to do the best job in as short a time as possible, and to take advantage of resources such as the existing copper wire network.

This guide looks at each of these connection types and compares them in terms of speed, reliability and longevity to give you a better idea of what your initial business internet performance is likely to be when you connect to the nbn™ network.

FTTN

This stands for Fibre to the Node and is where a fibre optic cable runs from the exchange to a node (mini exchange) in your local area, and the existing copper phone lines are then used to connect to your premises.

FTTP

This stands for Fibre to the Premises and is where a fibre optic cable runs from the exchange to a node in your local area and then fibre optic cable is used to connect to your premises. This is generally only to a ‘home’ residence where a single tenant dwelling exists (a house) instead of a multi-tenant dwelling (such as an apartment block).

FTTB

This stands for Fibre to the Building and is where a fibre optic cable runs from the exchange to a node in your apartment building or office block. The building’s existing wiring (copper in older buildings, fibre optic in newer ones) is then used to connect to each tenant.

FTTC

This stands for Fibre to the Curb and is where a fibre optic cable runs from the exchange to a small Distribution Point Unit (DPU) in your street, and the existing copper wires are then used to connect to your premises.

HFC

This stands for Hybrid Fibre Coaxial and is where an existing pay TV (Foxtel) or cable (Telstra or Optus) network is used to connect to your premises. This technology is still undergoing development and rollout.

Fixed Wireless

This is where data is transmitted from a tower in your area to an antenna installed on the roof of your premises (similar to a mobile phone network).

Sky Muster™ Satellite

This is where data is transmitted to a satellite dish on your remote property via one of two nbn co satellites.

How do they compare?

Unfortunately the type of connection you receive depends entirely on nbn co and the circumstances of your location, so upgrading to a better type of connection is normally not possible and, where possible, may be prohibitively expensive.

Nevertheless, by knowing how each connection compares, you can determine ways to improve its possible limitations through other means, such as selecting a higher nbn™ tier speed or upgrading to enterprise ethernet.

So how then do each of the seven different connection types compare with one another?

Speed

All of the nbn™ connections offer faster connectivity than ADSL, but because Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) uses fibre optic cable from the exchange to the node and then to the premises as well, the speeds attainable with FTTP are generally faster than other types of hard wired connections.

Fibre To The Curb (FTTC) is one step behind FTTP in terms of speed, because while it still uses copper to the premises (which is slower than fibre optic cable), the DPU is usually closer to the premises than the node used in FTTN, so less copper wire is needed.

Fibre To The Node comes next in speed, which is typically slower than FTTC because more copper is required to connect from the node to the premises.

As for the others, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) can be fast, but suffers from a high contention ratio causing speeds to slow considerably in busy usage periods, Fixed Wireless is optimised for the number of users in each location, so speeds are usually quite good and Sky Muster™ has to deal with long distances and contention, making it the slowest type of nbn™ connection.

Installation

With Fibre To The Node (FTTN) what you lose in connection speed you gain in speed of installation, as it is much faster to roll out than Fibre To The Premises (FTTP). This is because the copper infrastructure used in FTTN is already in place, so less work is needed by nbn co.

And as far as equipment goes, both FTTN and FTTB need a modem router and FTTP, HFC and Fixed Wireless just a router, with all other equipment such as network termination and nbn™ connection devices supplied by nbn co at no charge.

Installation will be performed for all services by a nbn co approved installer or technician.

Longevity

Because Fibre To The Premises (FTTP) uses fibre optic cable and Fibre To The Curb (FTTC) uses only a minimum amount of copper wire, these types of connections are considered to be more robust and long-lasting than Fibre To The Node (FTTN). They also have lower maintenance costs and the materials used will last up to twice as long as those used in FTTN.

Fibre optic cable also provides a more consistent delivery of high-speed internet, while copper is likely to suffer from slower and more erratic download and upload speeds.

Aussie Broadband has plans for all types of nbn™ connections and we can tailor a plan that allows your business to get the most from your connection, whatever it happens to be. Contact us now for a free consultation with our Australian-based team.

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About the author

Aaron O'Keeffe

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.