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nbn speeds for the end user

FEATUREv4

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What is the first thing that you do when your shiny new nbn™ service is activated? You run some form of speed test to determine if it is really as fast as touted by the Industry experts over the last 7 years. The National Broadband Network (nbn™) since its inception has been advertised as a fast and reliable Internet service for Australians regardless of their location.

The available bandwidth-to-end-user on nbn™ has greatly improved many services for end-users and changed the way we consume most services. For example, this has completely obliterated the DVD-rental industry in Australia as high definition media is now available to be streamed online at a fraction of cost and more conveniently.

Not only has nbn™ greatly improved many services for end-users, it has also resulted in cost-savings for businesses with the availability of Cloud based services. Cloud services eliminate the need for physical server/IT Infrastructure for businesses locally and shared synergies for the provider means the fees for Cloud services are not as high as they used to be, allowing more users to come on-board.

nbn™ is currently being delivered over different technologies like Fibre Optic (Fibre to the premises or FTTP), Combination of Fibre to the Node and Last-mile Copper (FTTN), Wireless and Satellite etc. The end-user speed testing methods I will discuss in this article will apply to most technologies except Satellite.

nbn™ Plan Speeds Explained

nbn™ plans come with speed tiers. For example a 25/5 tier means up to 25 megabits per second downloads and 5 megabits per second uploads. Available plan tiers with iiNet are 12/1, 25/5 and 100/40.

It’s important to note that the unit of speeds mentioned are Mbps – “Megabits per second” but when you download from the Internet the speed presented to you is usually MB/s – “MegaBytes per second”. Mathematically 8 Bits make up 1 Byte. So on a 25 Mbps connection, the theoretical maximum download speed would be 3.125 MB/s – that is you divide the plan speed by “8”.

However the theoretical maximum speeds aren’t what you will always receive when connecting to the Internet. So what are the factors that impact your actual speed? Well answer is a bit complicated and depends on the activity you are performing.

Content Delivery Network (CDN)

Any activity you perform on the Internet, involves the following steps: data is requested by your device when you initiate the activity, the request is sent to a server over the Internet and the server then responds with the content that is delivered to your device over the Internet.

For example when you enter iiNet’s web address in the browser, a request is sent by your computer to iiNet’s web server(s). The server that receives your request then responds by sending the content to you which is eventually presented as a website on your computer.

The same steps are involved when you watch a video on Youtube or Netflix, listen to Music on Pandora or Spotify, play games online or when you download from iTunes, etc. Therefore Internet speed in essence is how quickly your request is sent to the server and how quickly all of the content will be delivered back to you. For this reason, Major ISPs like iiNet already partner with popular content providers (Google, Microsoft, Apple, ABC, Netflix etc) to collaborate and design their networks such that content is readily available and delivered faster between ISP and Server. This is known as a Content Delivery Network (CDN)

CDN

An example of a CDN  is shown above: nbn™ provides you connection to your Internet Service Provider, who has a CDN in place for popular services. This means popular services will work faster on nbn™ because the connection is much faster on nbn™ compared to ADSL technology. However, content for services that are not served by a local CDN, either within the ISP Network or in Australia,  need to be sourced from overseas servers and therefore may not see as much improvement on an nbn™ connection.

Household Connections

Let’s talk about connections within your household. The medium of connection between your device and your router is crucial to the actual speeds you will receive. Only an Ethernet (CAT5e/CAT6 type) cable will provide up to 100Mbps download speeds at a constant rate. WiFi does not operate at a constant rate nor does it support 100Mbps throughput. A good WiFi router can provide you relatively good speeds for your mobile, tablet and laptop use, however, running an Ethernet cable from the router to the media intensive platforms is the most important step to significantly improve speeds on the media devices.

This step is highly recommended for below type of devices:

  • Internet Ready TV
  • Media Set Top Box (iiNet TV with Fetch, Apple TV, Roku, IPTV)
  • Gaming Consoles (Xbox, PlayStation)
  • IP Cameras
  • Network Storage

The total number of concurrent devices and users will also affect your household Internet experience. Remember the nbn™ speeds are from your router to ISP only and thus the available bandwidth will be shared across your devices if they are to connect to the internet simultaneously.

users

Speed tests

There are tools available to determine if there is a problem on your nbn™ connection. If you feel your Internet experience is worse or gets worse only during certain times of the day you can take below steps to establish if there is an issue.

  • Disconnect your router from the nbn™ NTD (nbn™ installed this at the time of activation), and run an Ethernet cable from NTD to your Laptop/Mac.
  • Run a speed test from an open source provider like speedtest.net. Please make sure you select the local server provided by your ISP to test. This should be automatic if you simply click “begin test” on the website. You can run these tests at different times of the day for comparison. The below test is for a user on a 100/40 nbn™ connection in Melbourne and therefore the server being tested against is in Melbourne. Speeds are close to 100Mbps for downloads and 40Mbps for uploads.

speed test

Here are some of the issues you can pick up from a speed test:

  • If speeds are very slow compared to your plan-tier any time of the day and you never receive speeds close to your plan-tier then there may be a provisioning issue with nbn™ or your ISP, or a physical fault for example a faulty port at nbn™ NTD.
  • If speeds are slow only during certain times of the day, for example during peak-hours, yet you receive full plan-tier speeds outside peak-hours, there may be an issue related to bandwidth capacity either with nbn™ or your ISP Network.

For both scenarios you may need to contact your ISP and provide your testing. You may also want to do the below additional step which will help to further troubleshoot.

  • The below step is optional but the result is very useful and easy to interpret. You can download and install WinMTR and perform the simple test shown below. If there is any service degradation on your Internet connection, it is clearly displayed in the 3rd column labelled Loss%. It is a free open source tool and all you need to do is put a server address, for example, Google DNS, which is “8.8.8.8” and click start. About 50-100 packets is a good sample size than click stop. If you see any Loss in the 1st or 2nd row (when you are connected directly to nbn™ NTD) it is usually indicative of an issue with the ISP. Packet loss further down the rows is sometimes normal due to Network design and can be ignored. Below snapshot shows no problem on my connection.

WinMTR

Conclusion

From a networks perspective, technologists will agree that nbn™ is faster compared to the majority of technology used in Australia 7 years ago. nbn™ allows an end-user to have constant and guaranteed throughput from their ISP Network regardless of their location – something which was not possible over existing ADSL infrastructure. As long as we are tech savvy about how our personal devices connect to the router within premises and have some knowledge of how the services that we consume are delivered to us, we can greatly improve and utilise the full potential of the speeds nbn™ has to offer.

For more information about troubleshooting nbn™ speeds, check out our iiHelp articles.

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.

36 comments

  1. maleka says:

    He is a perfect person not only in this field but in every feild

  2. Grant says:

    Hello Huzefa Ali, thanks for your article, hugely informative and much appreciated. Re Linux, I tried out Linux Mint for a while and found it to be quite good. Currently using Win 10 but there’s a lot not to like about that. In your view, why has there not been a better uptake of Linux in the wider community?

  3. Tim Koehler says:

    Why has NBN been installed fiber to the premises in areas like S Perth, where they can get ADSL2+ at NBN speeds, while there are no plans at all for NBN in next 4 years for places like Morley where there is no ADSL available and 3G/4G costs up to $20 per GB? 3G in Kazakfstan costs 40 cents a GB!

  4. Peter Schneider says:

    Perhaps he’ll be able to solve my speed issues?

  5. Rob Kosse says:

    This is a bit like reading the instructions on how to get the best performance out of your Ferrari when you only drive a VW Beetle.
    Still not even on NBN’s “will be connected one day” list, and unlikely to be connected for many years yet, the way things are (not) progressing.

  6. Rayf says:

    Huzefa, thanks for the informative article & links.
    Note, however, that your link did not work for me. However, manually entering the not-secure version did work.
    Your link to WinMTR was not of much use to me as I’m not an MS Windows user. Don’t assume that all readers use that operating system. I use a version of Unix [Darwin 14.5.0].

  7. Rayf says:

    Huzefa,
    the part of my last comment that disappeared somewhere is “Note, however, that your link, https://speedtest.net, did not work for me. However, manually entering the not-secure version, http://speedtest.net, did work.”

  8. Adam says:

    On the speed test, I disagree with picking a local server as most of what we access is based overseas. For an accurate test pick a server in, say New York, yes it will show a worst case speed ( connection issues along the way not withstanding ) but thats taking everything into consideration rather than just from your house to the server closest to you. Sure not Everything we access is overseas however its better to be expecting lower speeds and getting higher than expecting higher and getting lower . . .

  9. FryaDuck says:

    Good to see you’ve said nothing about HFC…

    Fraudband because the LNP don’t have a clue

  10. Stu says:

    “nbn™ is faster compared to the majority of technology used in Australia 7 years ago.” WOW!!!!!

  11. George says:

    Why is it still don’t offer plans on the NBN FW 50/20 speed tier that’s been available on most other providers over the past 6 months?

    • Jade Smit says:

      Thank-you for your query, George. We haven’t had any new information or updates relative to speed upgrades for Fixed Wireless services, at this time. We will certainly communicate any updates/changes if and when they come to hand. Let us know if you have any further queries or concerns.

      – Jade

  12. david says:

    So… the 10% or whatever of us who actually have the NBN have wiped out the DVD-rental industry???

    Sounding like you guys are an arm of government

  13. David Edwards says:

    The link to speedtest.net does not work.

    The link to WinMTR is OK

  14. Michael Rogers says:

    That weas a bit for an old bloke to swallow but I expect one of my teenage grandkids will be helping Grandpa….quiite a bit.

  15. Reginald Henry Ramm says:

    You still have not given a cost, or wen it will be available.

  16. Don Hesson says:

    All information provided is good, but I will be a lot happier when I am actually connected to NBN.

  17. Jeremy Pritchard says:

    FTTN VDSL – Helped boost my speeds by removing spare phone sockets (incl cabling) and leaving one – for the modem only! See a data cable co.

  18. Waddles says:

    Please don’t use speed test by ookla as iinet prioritise this site and even when your surfing sucks it will show full download speeds. Try fast.com (netflix) for a more accurate indication of what speed is being delivered.

  19. John Kennedy says:

    NBN is currently under construction in our estate, and i’m lead to believe we are receiving FTTN, but not FTTP. So how does FTTN help me when i currently have Pair Gain and NO Ports available issue? according to the powers that be at Telstra!

    • Jade Smit says:

      Hey John,

      In this instance, our wholesaler would probably need to do a New Line Connection prior to you receiving the FTTN service. We wouldn’t be too sure about specifics until we have an address and lodge the order with NBN directly. If you’d like more info, or to put through an application, please give our Sales team a ring on 13 19 17.

      Thanks!

      – Jade

  20. Glen McAllister says:

    For a Linux/Unix guy, surprised you haven’t recommended a non-Windoze alternative for WinMTR.

  21. Huzefa says:

    Unix has mtr packages available that can be installed via CLI. On Debian this can be done via apt-get install mtr. Than to run mtr in report mode issue command: mtr –report 8.8.8.8

  22. Robert Irwin says:

    That was very informative, thank you. I can only access FTTN and with exactly the same speed options that I have for ADSL 2+ I’m to be charged almost double for the privilege. I fail to see either a technical or financial gain in this. It would seem that the only improvement I can get is to move to a location with FTTD. I suspect that there will be a dual class of digital citizenship and housing very shortly.

  23. Bob says:

    I live in Bella Vista NSW.
    When will iinet get NBN service into Bella Vista

  24. Hunter says:

    Be very careful anyone signing up to NBN with iiNet it appears that it is not compatible with Foxtel On Demand

    • Jade Smit says:

      Hey Hunter,

      We recommend directing this query to Foxtel directly. As, to our knowledge, it shouldn’t be a problem having a Foxtel service with NBN.

      – Jade

  25. Christian says:

    So unless I hard wire my house instead of relying on wireless it will not really make much difference for streaming NETFLIX/YouTube videos on iPAD, Laptop and non-wired TVs? I better dig out my CAT6 cable & tools before I get connected to NBN…

  26. David says:

    So reading your contracts, is it correct to say that the maximum download speed you offer using wireless connection is only 25 Mbps?

  27. Jo says:

    My advice is to shop around, use Telsta/Optus as the benchmark for performance/speed/price and reliability, then choose your ISP based on your household needs for Netflix/Stan etc and factor in the kids as they drive their xbox/play stations to 24/7 use. Budget for at least a $100 a month anything less will mean disappointment even on NBN and kidless.

  28. David Plenderleith says:

    I can’t believe we as a whole, are wasting billions on NBN, to produce a product which is not compatible with most previously installed systems. We built our house 15 years age and had it pre wired with a Starserver by clipsal we also have a back to base security system. I have had to spend $1,000 to have modifications done to have NBN connected, only to see my speed, at times, drop from 7.65 Mbps to 560 Kbps! On to of that the Wifi speed is 3.69 Mbps consistently. Thanks fore nothing Iinet.

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