If you’ve been keeping across the news around Australia’s superfast National Broadband Network (NBN), you’ve probably heard the term “Fibre to the Node” or “FTTN” thrown around a lot.
That’s because FTTN is the technology leading the NBN rollout, with thousands of nodes being installed right around the nation. It’s expected that over 1.6 million homes and businesses will be receiving their NBN connection via FTTN technology by 2018.
With many Aussies connecting via FTTN in the coming years, it could be the technology you’ll receive if the NBN has not yet rolled out in your area. So you might be wondering: what is FTTN? And how will this affect customers?
It’s all about Nodes
The defining factor of FTTN technology is the node. With FTTN, the NBN fibre runs straight to a cabinet, called a node, in your neighbourhood, and then connects the surrounding premises from the node using the existing copper network.
Fibre to the Building or FTTB is a very similar technology which is connected in much the same way, but instead of a node in the street, the fibre-optic connection hub is installed in a central location in a multiple-dwelling unit and then connects to each individual residence using the existing copper network. See our great iiHelp article for more information about FTTN/B connections.
Since the technologies are so similar, getting connected on each involves the same process.
Getting connected to FTTN
Approximately 18 months after FTTN/B is ready to connect in your area, any copper-reliant services you are using, such as ADSL broadband or your home phone, will be switched off. Thankfully switching to the NBN is easy: just contact your usual service provider, like iiNet. By arranging the switch, you can ask to keep your existing phone number too. If you don’t connect in the 18 month allocated time-frame, you will face downtime from your services being switched off and risk losing your existing number for good.
After you contact iiNet, we’ll organise a technician to come out to you and jumper you off the copper network to the FTTN network at the node, where it will then connect to your house. Jumpering simply means completing the electrical circuit to NBN network boundaries. You shouldn’t need to worry too much about this process though; in most scenarios it happens behind the scenes. Though on occasion the technician will require someone over the age of 18 to be home in case the technician needs to connect a new copper line or test connectivity to your premises. Don’t worry, we’ll let you know if you need to be home.
Once the technician has finished, all you need to do is plug in your NBN-ready modem, and you should be ready to start enjoying your superfast NBN connection.
The main benefit of rolling out FTTN is that it’s faster to connect than other technology types: which means getting the NBN to you, faster! Since FTTN utilises existing copper lines, less new infrastructure is required, making it quicker to build and quicker to connect. FTTN doesn’t require big boxes to be installed on the inside and outside of your premises either, so all the customer needs is an NBN-modem to get it up and running once it’s connected.
Get the right modem!
If you want to enjoy all the great benefits of a superfast FTTN connection, you need the right modem for the job. An incompatible modem is just going to cause headaches: you won’t receive the maximum potential speeds you could be receiving, or worse, your ports may be locked! Port locking is a NBN network restriction that is placed on the particular FTTB/N service, in order to prevent network instability/interference.
When an NBN connection tries to run through an incompatible modem, the system goes into panic mode, and locks the ports in order to not degrade the network or cause issues for other users on the network. This is because NBN FTTN and FTTB are VDSL2 technologies, and require the modem to specifically support this new technology. Because port locking stops the FTTN/B connection from working on a Network level, the customer will need to call their service provider to unlock it; it won’t automatically unlock by simply upgrading the modem at this stage. However, you will need to upgrade after it’s unlocked to prevent the same issue occurring again.
It’s better to just avoid this altogether by getting an nbnTM whitelisted modem. iiNet has had 2 of their modems whitelisted by nbn™ (TG-1 and Budii Lite) to be ready for FTTN. When you sign up for your FTTN connected NBN plan, order your modem with us, and avoid any future hassles with incompatibility. Our modems have been specially designed and tested to be easy to set up, deliver fast speeds and play nice with the NBN FTTB/N network. Additionally, by selecting an iiNet modem, you’ll be making it easier to troubleshoot your modem if there ever is an issue.
To see where your exact location stands in the NBN rollout process, check out the NBN Coverage Checker. This will let you pinpoint exactly where sites have been built or are in stages of preparation or construction. Make sure to register your interest on the NBN Wait List and check out iinet’s NBN plans to be ready to roll when the NBN hits your neighbourhood.