Monday, 21 Aug 2017 | 4 min read
The NBN: what you need to know about traffic and service classes
The National Broadband Network (nbn™) has brought with it a range of terminology – and sometimes confusingly so. If you’ve been wondering what traffic and service classes refer to, read on to find out what they mean, how the nbn™ is being delivered, and what’s happening in your local area.
What are traffic classes?
The nbn™ traffic classes are designed to help retail service providers improve their quality of service. These wholesale traffic classes provide higher quality of service and guide retail service providers (RSPs) on improving service quality in their retail offerings. In practice, the RSPs will use the traffic classes to prioritise different network traffic.
For example, highest priority traffic such as voice calls will be given priority over video calls. TC-1 has the highest priority, while TC-4 has the lowest. These traffic classes are designed to help RSPs route different types of data to provide greater reliability and better quality. They’re available on different last mile access technologies like FTTP, FTTN, FTTC, HFC, and fixed wireless. However, not all traffic classes are available on all last mile access technologies. nbn™ business users can choose from these traffic classes, which are essentially performance tiers. Three main traffic classes have been defined, with each designating certain types of traffic: TC1, TC2, and TC4.
Traffic Class 1 (TC-1)
TC-1 is the highest priority traffic class. Delivered as a committed information rate (CIR), this type of traffic has guaranteed 1:1 contention ratio, jitter, and loss characteristics. This means it’s designed for highly delay-sensitive applications and to enable high quality in voice communication. Download and upload speeds are symmetrical for seamless voice communication. TC-1 speeds tend to range from 150 kbps to 5 Mbps. Applications with highly deterministic traffic parameters, such as voice apps and voice services to end users, will fall under this traffic class. You can find out more information about traffic classes in this article.
Traffic Class 2 (TC-2)
nbn™ Traffic Class 2 (TC-2) provides a high performance delivery method for services and applications that require predictable, consistent, and symmetrical upload and download speeds. It’s designed for interactive activities such as video conferencing, business collaboration, IPTV, and gaming, which tend to be latency sensitive. Voice, video, terminal services, and other delay-sensitive applications are suited to TC-2. Similarly to TC-1 traffic, TC-2 is delivered as a committed information rate with a specified latency, jitter, and loss characteristics. Typical speeds range between 5 and 20Mbps.
Traffic Class 4 (TC-4)
nbn™ Traffic Class 4 (TC-4) is the delivery method for general internet and data services, facilitating traffic across different nbn™ technologies. These include fibre to the node (FTTN), fibre to the basement (FTTB), fibre to the curb (FTTC), and fibre to the premises (FTTP). TC-4 is known as the “best effort” traffic class for non-critical applications ranging from email and streaming to web browsing. TC-4 is typically used to deliver broadband services to small business and residential users, and speeds tend to range from 25 Mbps down / 5 Mbps up, to 100 Mbps down / 40 Mbps up. Generally TC-4 isn’t appropriate for larger businesses with mission-critical needs.
Accessing traffic classes
The traffic classes are available on a wholesale basis (for retailers) through the nbn™ Ethernet Bitstream Service. Speeds start at 12 Mbps for downloads and 1 Mbps for uploads.
The nbn™ is delivered via different technologies that vary depending on your area. The service class in your location tells you what type of technology is in use. Service classes also indicate the current status, level of completion, and any required components of the nbn™ in your area. Service classes are unrelated to traffic classes. When you check for nbn™ availability in your area, these service classes will come up to tell you what’s available, the technology used to connect your home or business, and the status in your area. Service classes can also tell you how much extra work, potential costs, and timeframes are required to make the connection nbn™ ready.
Service Class 0 – This means the area is planned to be serviceable by Fibre to the Premises (FTTP). At Service Class 0, businesses and individuals can’t activate their connection yet because the nbn™ are still running fibre between the pits.
Service Class 1 – The location is serviceable by FTTP. However, neither a box on the outside nor an nbn™ box (NTD) on the inside have been installed. Otherwise stated, fibre from the street or pit to the premises hasn’t been installed yet. However, you can order a service and book an appointment for installation.
Service Class 2 – This means the location is serviceable by FTTP. External devices have been installed but NTDs haven’t. An nbn™ technician will be completing the install soon and your house will then be in Service Class 3.
Service Class 3 – At Service Class 3, your location is now serviceable by fibre and internal and external devices have all been installed. You are ready to order your FTTP service and activation will usually take place within one to five business days.
Service Class 4 – With Service Class 4, your location will be serviceable by Fixed Wireless. Status-wise, the tower is not yet live so households and businesses at this status won’t be able to activate or schedule an installation. You can do so when the nbn™ announces your area is ready for service. Aussie Broadband customers can pre-sign for installation.
Service Class 5 – The location is serviceable by Fixed Wireless, although the infrastructure isn’t in place yet. If you’re an Aussie Broadband customer, contact us to book an appointment for the antenna and the NTD (the nbn™ connection device) to be installed.
Service Class 6 – This means the location is serviceable by Fixed Wireless, and antenna and NTD are in place. You can now order your service and it should be activated within one to five business days.
Service Class 7 – The location is planned to be serviceable by satellite. This type of service isn’t supported on the Aussie Broadband network.
Service Class 8 – The location is serviceable by satellite but no satellite dish or NTD yet in place. This type of service is not supported on the Aussie Broadband network.
Service Class 9 – The location is serviced by satellite, and dish and NTD are in place.
Service Class 10 – The location is planned to be serviceable by copper for FTTN or FTTB. However, it’s not yet live. You need to wait until it shifts into Service Class 11 before activating or installing. However, you can pre-sign with Aussie Broadband for activation.
Service Class 11 – The location is serviceable by copper. It’s now nbn™ ready and you can order an FTTN or FTTB service. However, there will be a bit more infrastructure work to be done by NBN Co. For example, copper lead-in and jumpering need to be completed by NBN Co before we connect you. Check your internal cabling and the conduit are in place. The technicians will run a physical cable and attach it to your property. If you are on FTTB, make sure nbn™ can access the communications room. They’ll also need to check your communications room and apartment are connected by an internal copper line.
Service Class 12 – The location is serviceable by copper, with FTTN or FTTB service available. Jumpering is required but you can make an appointment to activate. For the jumpering and activation, the technician doesn’t need to visit your property but only needs to complete the work at the node.
Service Class 13 – The location is serviceable by copper and the infrastructure is in place, with jumpering already completed. Your connection is nbn™ ready using FTTN or FTTB, and you won’t need a technician to do any work. Activation usually takes effect within one to five business days after the request.
Service Class 20 – The location is planned to be serviced by cable. That is, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC).
Service Class 21 – Service Class 21 means the site is serviceable by HFC. However, there’s no lead-in or NTD in place yet.
Service Class 22 – The location is serviceable by HFC. It has a lead-in but no wall-plate (socket) or NTD installed yet.
Service Class 23 – The location is serviceable by HFC and has a lead-in and wall-plate in place. However, the NTD hasn’t been installed yet.
Service Class 24 – The location is serviceable by HFC and has a lead-in, wall-plate, and NTD installed. You can now order your HFC service.
Service Class 30 – The location will be serviceable by FTTC.
Service Class 31 – The location is serviceable by FTTC but doesn’t have the copper lead-in installed yet.
Service Class 32 – The location is serviceable by FTTC and the copper lead-in has been installed. However, there’s no cut-in to the Distribution Point Unit (DPU). An nbn™ connection device – also known as a Network Connection Device (NCD) is required.
Service Class 33 – The location is serviceable by FTTC. The copper lead-in is present, as is the cut-in to Distribution Point Unit (DPU). An nbn™ connection device – also known as a Network Connection Device (NCD) is required before connection.
Service Class 34 – The location is within the FTTC footprint and is fully connected to the FTTC network. You can request activation without needing a technician’s appointment. Activation usually takes place within one to five business days.
Getting a clear idea of your speed
The nbn’s™ traffic classes are designed to protect quality of service, while service classes help end customers plan for access. Whether you’re a consumer or service provider, understanding traffic classes can help you get a clearer idea of how your nbn™ service works to deliver optimal speeds, no matter what you’re doing.
Aussie Broadband is an Australian-based internet service provider offering award winning NBN services to business and residential customers. If you’re thinking about signing up for the nbn™, speak to our Australian Team for a discussion today to find out more.
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