A basic breakdown of the complex connection points that could affect internet speed between your home network, the nbn™ network, and other external networks.

The nbn™ network is just one step in the connectivity chain that helps you get online.

When you use the internet, data first travels through your local area network (LAN). This can be summarised as any devices connected to your router.

That data then leaves your LAN and travels across the nbn™ network to the closest point of interconnect (POI), where retail service providers (RSPs) connect to the nbn™ network.

Beyond the nbn™ network, the data travels along RSP networks. These are networks that sit outside of the nbn™ network and which are owned and operated by retail service providers in Australia.

Finally, beyond the RSP networks, data can be sent and received across global networks that connect you to the rest of the world.

Your home’s role in delivering speeds

There are networking factors inside your home that could affect internet speed. This can be as simple as the choice between using cables (Ethernet) or wireless connections to your modem or wi-fi router.

It also includes more complicated factors such as the age and compatibility of your networking devices (including wi-fi routers), wireless interference, or the number of connected devices that are simultaneously using your home’s internet connection.

Additionally, even if your modem and/or router can reach the full speed of your plan for services over the nbn™ network, internet speeds will only be as fast as the devices connected to your home network. This means if you have an older model smartphone, tablet, laptop, or other connected device, it may not be able to make full use of your service, simply because it was designed for slower speeds.

nbn’s role in delivering speeds

nbn is building a network for now and for the future, with the goal of connecting 8 million Australian homes by 2020.

To help reach this goal, nbn uses a Multi Technology Mix (MTM) to get Australia online as quickly and cost efficiently as possible.

This MTM includes Fixed Line connections for metropolitan areas, including Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP), Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN), Fibre-to-the-Building (FTTB), Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) and, soon, Fibre-to-the-Curb (FTTC).

For rural and remote areas, the MTM includes nbn™ Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster™ satellite service technologies.

Your retailer’s role in delivering speeds

nbn is a wholesaler. We sell directly to retail service providers, which then sell retail plans over the nbn™ network to end users. The RSP decides how it packages up its retail plans that are based on the nbn™ network. In addition to consumer connections, RSPs buy capacity on the nbn™ network; it’s up to each RSP to decide how much capacity it needs to meet the needs of consumers.

RSPs also own or lease access to separate networks that plug in to the nbn™ network. These are often called domestic or RSP networks. On top of deciding how much capacity to purchase on the nbn™ network, it’s also up to each RSP to decide how much capacity is required on their owned or leased domestic networks to deliver speedy internet connections for their customers. 

The nbn™ network is only one part of the networks that your RSP provides to you. The RSP decides how all of these networks work together (with the nbn™ network) to provide you access to the internet.

Your connection to the world

Connecting to Australian websites and web services is usually faster than connecting to international destinations.

This is because latency comes into play, which impacts internet speed because of the geographical distance between your home network and your online destination.

The farther away an online destination is geographically from your home connection, the more time your online request is likely to spend on networks that are not controlled by nbn or Australian RSPs.

To help speed things up, internationally hosted websites and web services may use content delivery networks (CDNs), which mirror international content on Australian servers so that it’s faster to access.

While there are multiple network steps in the online connectivity chain, nbn only has control over wholesale speeds on the nbn™ network for providing access to internet to Australian homes. nbn does not control how much capacity RSPs choose to purchase on the network. 

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