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What is the nbn™ Multi Technology Mix?

The nbn™ network is designed to give all Australians the opportunity to access fast and reliable internet services - but how will it achieve this?

The rollout of the nbn™ network promises to change the way we access the internet. Using a mix of technologies, the network is designed to provide every Australian with access to fast and reliable internet services.

The type of technology that will connect you to the nbn™ network will depend on your location.

Below are the different technologies that make up the network:

Fibre to the Premises

Fibre to the Premises will deliver new fibre optic cable all the way from the exchange to your premises.

Fibre Optic cable is thinner than a hair but capable of sending data at the speed of light. It makes use of Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON) and the current network offers a range of wholesale download speed tiers.*

Fibre to the Node

A Node installation in progress

Fibre to the Node (FTTN) offers a quick and cost effective way to connect people to fast broadband services. It will make use of fibre optic cable that will run from the exchange to nodes (also called cabinets) in your local area.

The broadband will then be delivered from these nodes to your premises via the existing copper cable. Each one of these nodes should  be able to service up to 384 homes. 

Using a new technology called "Vectoring", which helps reduce noise that might interfere with your copper cables, the FTTN technology can currently deliver maximum wholesale speeds of up to 100Mbps/40Mbps* within 400 metres of the cabinet.

Even at 700 metres from to the node, the connection is often capable of wholesale speeds up to 50Mbps/20Mbps.

Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial

You might already be aware of the Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC) cables around your neighbourhood. 

HFC makes use of the ‘pay TV network’ cabling that was deployed by Telstra and Optus in the 1990s. As these connections already exist, this promises to be a much faster and more cost effective installation to connect many Australians.

The HFC network is planned to be used to connect around four million homes across most capital cities in Australia.

HFC networks currently serve around 150 million people with broadband around the world. While speed testing has been limited in Australia, in some overseas countries it has delivered wholesale speeds of over 500Mbps with 1Gbps services being trialled in others.

Read more about HFC and its benefits 

Fixed Wireless

The fixed wireless network will use nbn™ fibre to 2,600 Transmission Towers located around Australia.

These towers will then transmit broadband services to homes using TD-LTE 4G mobile broadband technology.

This type of technology is planned to cover around 500,000 premises and will help to deliver fast broadband to some regional areas for the first time ever.

Long Term Satellite Service

For the small percentage of people who are unable to connect to fixed line or fixed wireless technology, the nbn™ network will make use of two new specially designed satellites.

These next-generation satellites will cover nearly every corner of Australia, from Christmas Island all the way to Lord Howe and Norfolk islands.

The first satellite launched on 1 October to become available to homes and business progressively from mid-2016. Check out the amazing footage of the satellite launch here.

A rocket carrying nbn's Sky Muster satellite lifts off from French Guiana. Photo: Oct 1, French Guiana.

The existing interim satellite service has a capacity of 4Gbps. When the two new satellites are in orbit, they will have a combined capacity of 135Gbps.

This increase in capacity will deliver peak wholesale speeds of up to 25Mbps/5Mbps*, which promises to be one of the best ever consumer broadband delivered to remote Australia and equivalent to speeds that many people in the city enjoy now.

Regardless of what technology is used to connect you to the nbn™ network, this promises to be a huge step forward for the future of Australia’s broadband network. 

*We’re designing the nbn™ network to provide these speeds to our wholesale customers, telephone and internet service providers.  End user experience, including the speeds actually achieved over the nbn™ network, depends on the technology over which services are delivered to your premises and some factors outside our control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.

To know more about the nbn™ network, visit our handy nbn™ 101 guide here.

Watch: Key questions about nbn™ network answered

Editor's note: a previous version of this article stated "wholesale speeds of up to 100Mbps/40MBps* within 400 metres of the cabinet" in the FTTN section. This has been corrected to ""wholesale speeds of up to 100Mbps/40Mbps".

Last updated on 30 January 2018

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