Understanding your speeds on the NBN

By Rachael McIntyre

With the National Broadband Network (NBN) currently rolling out across Australia, we thought it was time to shed some light on the speeds you can expect when the NBN comes to your home. For most people, any plan on the NBN will be faster than what they have now on ADSL – but how much faster? And are there limitations? To make things easier, here are a few important things to note when choosing an NBN plan to suit you.

Not everything (or everyone) gets maximum speeds

When connected on a service with (for example) a 100 Mbps rated speed, it’s not guaranteed that everything that you download from the Internet will be received by you at 100 Mbps. External factors that might affect your actual speed including things like:

  • the computer you’re accessing the Internet on
  • the links between iiNet and your computer
  • the network connecting your community to iiNet.

Technical factors affecting your speed performance

You might find your speed is affected by technical issues within your own home. Things that might affect your speed in this respect include:

  • the hardware you use to connect to the network – for example, the capability of your router
  • the performance of your home network – for example, your line speeds may be greater than that of your wireless home network
  • the limitations imposed by the hardware and software operating in your PC.

It is important to note, when choosing your plan, that iiNet’s NBN plan speeds described on our website are the ‘theoretical network maximum speeds’. Your actual speeds may be slower due to a number of factors beyond iiNet’s control.

A breakdown of the theoretical maximum speeds

For our technical enthusiasts out there, here are the maximum speeds you can get to your home. These speeds aren’t necessarily the speeds you’ll get on that particular plan. Real world usage is unlikely to consistently achieve such speeds, due to the factors described above.

The theoretical maximum access speeds for iiNet’s NBN plans are:

  • Standard – 12/1 Mbps – which means that the theoretical peak download speed (from the Internet) is 12 Megabits per second, and the theoretical peak upload speed (to the Internet) is 1 Megabit per second. This is the basic service, comparable to an average ADSL2+ connection.
  • Fast – 25/5 Mbps – which means that the theoretical peak download speed (from the Internet) is 25 Megabits per second, and the theoretical peak upload speed (to the Internet) is 5 Megabits per second. This is ideal for most home applications.
  • Faster – 50/20 Mbps – which means that the theoretical peak download speed is 50 Megabits per second, and the theoretical peak upload speed is 20 Megabits per second. This may deliver a better outcome if there are multiple online users at your house.
  • Fastest – 100/40 Mbps – which means that the theoretical peak download speed is 100 Megabits per second, and the theoretical peak upload speed is 40 Megabits per second. This is a professional grade service, and you’ll need a professional grade router to get the full benefit from it.


  1. Eddie Bond says:

    This will drag on and on and on,No one really knows the full cost, because there are so many variables involved in the N.B.N. construction,especially when you consider that each property has to have its own seperate optic fibre feed, the bulk of the N.B.N.will be in the populated areas only,mainly because of cost, if and when, its finished it will not be cost effective for subscribers anyway,Definatly another white Elephant,built on all the techno hype being pushed by the Government,a vote catcher,Funded by the poor long suffering tax payer and any subscribers willing to pay through the nose for such an overated overpriced,Government,National Broadband,Telstra,White Elephant,What a joke.Your right to stick with iinet they will be number one, if this little black duck has anything to do with it,Many,Many of my ex Telstra colleuges at least 80 thousand of them would not have a good word to say about that other internet and telephone provider “TELSTRA” has made itself a great deal of bad Karma due to its conduct regarding ex employees it did not respect,if the N.B.N. is going to take ten to fifteen years to acheave at present the estimated cost is 48 Billion Dollars seems to be an impossible task when the total popuation of Australia is around only 25 Million people,probably not one tenth of that figure would want full speed or even Broadband,no one as far as I know has come forward with a costing to subscribers, I for one will not be holding my breath,Hopefully there will be a quantam leap in technology which will by pass the need for the N,B.N. Optic Fibre Network to be run out and it could be abandoned,I am very happy with iinet adsl that is more than enough speed for myself and my family.

    • Ben says:

      @Eddie Bond, This is an extremely poorly reasoned comment. Up if you look at the tabs on this website: the prices are clearly and indelibly listed, as are the region that are getting NBN and when to the month construction begins. you have no excuse to whine but lack of effort and research. I have no idea why you’re complaining about Telstra, it says iinet at the top of the page, not Telstra. Also, full stops and spaces are free…

    • Eric says:

      @Eddie Bond, Eddy, the trouble is that people like you have no foresight. If people like you were in the majority in the late 1800’s/early 1900’s, Anyone living more than 20kM from the centre of a capital city would be using “Pony Express” and carrier pidgeons for communications, and bullock drays for transport because the existing road and rail transport networks and the current copper phone network would have never been built “because of the cost”.
      The NBN, or something very similar, would have had to have been built eventually. It’s an essential part of the country’s communications development.

    • Dominic Do says:

      @Eddie Bond, Eddie, yeah Quantum computing 😉 it is already happening and tested to move data (make a duplicate data – effectively moving data so to speak) from point A to point B in one of the Chinese city. Guess what? It worked flawlessly. So first thing you will see is none of this fiber from exchange to exchange. It will probably instant data from one exchange to another. I guess the for consumer use? well maybe another 5 years when production gets cheaper, we have routers/modem that can perform quantum data copying from one point to another (instantly). I guess it requires a bit of energy to operate such a device, so yeah kinda have a few things to sort out first before it can be a mature product to use.

      I personally think, duplicating ourselves and make another copy of us at the destination will be possible (after all we are made up of atoms and right now we can make stuff from the atomic level, but definitely a big deal cause it’s cloning. So yeah, you will need strict rules to destroy old self, otherwise the world will be in chaos. Beam me up scotty!!!

  2. Fourbypete says:

    I can’t believe I wasted my time reading the above comment. I mean, what a winger!
    The NBN regardless of the cost will be an improvement to fixed line call quality and a slight increase to the reliability of internet speeds in Australia. No one with realistic expectations sees the NBN as a miracle fix for telecommunications.
    Recent scientific studies have shown that cellphone radiation may cause brain tumors in young children, now whether or not this is true, I for one don’t want a future where we find out when it’s too late!!!
    Lastly, every time I hear the words “White Elephant” I immediately think Liberal lies, example of an uneducated society and Telstra as a whole. Really, some of these people against the NBN would have you believe that there taxes alone will be paying for it. I’m not a Labor supporter but if they want to run optic fiber to my house and want to use some of the $20000 in taxes I pay each year to do it then, I say Yes Please! Sign me up ASAP!

  3. Pete says:

    When I lived in Japan in 2004, I had 100mbs ethernet in my apartment. When I lived in South Korea in 2008 I had 100mbs ethernet. Both of these connections were fed by fibre.. Now I live in Macleod, I can’t even get ADSL stupid pair gain.. Bring on NBN I say.. and hurry up about it….

  4. Alex says:

    i think fibre is a great idea, its about time australia come out of the dark ages in telecom, the idea of having such a high speed and high quality lines mean faster downloads and less lag for gamers. and im glad that the government is in control of NBN, telstra is cheap in repairs and expensive in products they worry more bout the money in there products then they do bout there customers, telstra may even to start to go broke after nbn is turned on, no more land lines, no more ADSL/2+ from them, thats there source income, ill be happy when there a little guy like the rest of ISP out there

  5. Mafew says:

    i have download speed then the “standard” pack
    when i switch to fiber will it slow my net down?

    • Jess McCallum says:

      Hey Mafew,

      Your connection will not be slowed down if you switch to a Fibre service.



  6. Gerardo says:

    We have had NBN from iinet since 15th Feb.(today is 29th April) We are regretting every day! Never get the speeds that are advertised (or pay for).
    Have to call tech support every few days and have to go through troubleshooting every time. Get told to do different things every time. Had a 25/5 plan and got speeds ranging from 0.09mbps to 20.67. “Upgraded” to 100/40 mbps plan, and still getting the same speeds!!!!
    Today we spent 3 hours (1.5hrs myself, then a further 1.5hrs for my wife) out of our working day, to tech support while he went through some troubleshooting for our slow speeds. He upgraded the firmware for BOB2 (our 2nd modem as the initial one was deemed faulty), and we then had no internet connection nor phone… for 3 hours…
    It was extremely frustrating. Every attempt simply made it worse.
    He concluded by telling my wife that we should lower our plan to 50 instead of 100 (as why would we even need the 100)… He said that even though it said 100 the best we could hope for was maybe 40mbps IF we were connected to the NBN with a direct cable attached to our computer. Apple don’t provide the outlets for direct cable connectivity, and this functionality went out with dial-up internet! We had ADSL1 with faster speed via Telstra. We came across to iinet in good faith, promised excellent speeds. We were also quoted (verbally) speeds on the 100 plan at 90 for downloads, which we could understand a slight variability) But to constantly experience sub 20… there IS an issue and it needs to be addressed better than we have experienced to date. We were told to wait 2 business days for the updated plan to go through provisioning, but today it seemed that it had gone through, but these were the best speeds we could expect. Other than that, he didn’t know what the problem was and to wait and see how it went, then call back and change the plan down if they were still slow???

    You’ll sense our frustration. We don’t want to pay for 50 if we only get sub 20. There’s no guarantee that dropping to 50 will result in accessing even 40 mbps speeds.

    To be told that there must be an issue with the NBN fibre optic cable, and/or connection itself, then changing to “this is the best you can expect based upon competing radio frequencies, distance from the modem (NB the computer is 30 cm FROM the modem) leaves us questioning exactly which is the exact answer. 3 hours without a phone line today was not good enough, again.

    Need a fix, or get out of contract so we can go with someone else.

    • Geoff Searle says:

      Hi Gerardo,

      I have had a look over the issues on your account and essentially the problem is not your NBN connection it is a wireless network issue. This is where your speeds are being impacted, it might be hardware related but it seems unlikely as you have tried replacement hardware. There are a number of factors that can impact wireless connections, this can include overlapping signals, interference from other devices and obstacles (walls) that will reduce signal penetration. You can read more about wireless here:

      It might also pay to take a look at the wireless signals around you that could be impacting your wireless connection, there are a number of mobile applications and computer programs that can do this, I tend to use the one found here:

      Our support team can help with further troubleshooting of your wireless on 13 22 58.


      • Tony says:

        As to Gerardos problem, why dont you send a tech to his house so the network speed can be tested properly.

    • Dan says:

      @Gerardo, I don’t understand why comments like these aren’t deleted. Using a apple laptop with a 54Mbps wireless connection to modem, (probably with all your iphones, ipads and other equipment all using the wireless at the same time in the background) and complaining why not getting 100Mb is just stupid. Your doing all of this network setup yourself and putting bad comments online. Buy the apple thunderbolt to gigabit ethernet adapter and get a proffesional computer company out to your house and pay them to set your own equipment up correctly.

      • abdiel says:

        @Dan, If you could please refer to your own sales pitch for the NBN video on the effect of multiple devices on total speed… it clearly states that the total speed is not affected! So, which is it? please explain.

  7. william ross says:

    hello everyone.

    question, everyone talks about download speeds but not upload ! optus and telstra for home users still restrict home users to 800k

    when will aus isp’s allow a person to send things to there family or friends without taking an hour to upload ?


    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi William Ross,

      ADSL2+ services are limited to a maximum of 1Mbps upload speed and ADSL1 has an upload limit of 384kbps, but this is not an arbitrary limit or restriction. It’s part of the ITU ADSL1/ADSL2+ standards. Asymmetric DSL sacrifices it’s upload capability for download speed, which was the primary necessity for consumers when the standards were enshrined.

      Nowadays you are right that people are sending/uploading more content (work from home, amateur videographers/photographers, designers, architects) and need bigger upload speeds and that’s where infrastructure like the NBN comes in as it provides this capability.


  8. Juan Gomez says:

    My household doesn’t have the NBN connected at the moment, although I was wondering…
    If we do get connected and choose the 100/40 Mbps speed plan and IF somehow the connection speed does not go past the 50/20 Mbps, will we be able to change plans and downgrade even though we’re already signed up to a contract. (hypothetically speaking)

    • Natalie Marinho says:

      Hi Juan,

      The NBN optic fibre network will be capable of providing broadband speeds up to 40 times faster than ADSL broadband. It currently provides wholesale speeds of up to 100 Mbps download and 40 Mbps upload, and will be capable of up to one gigabit per second (1000 Mbps) download.

      Maximum speeds may exceed capabilities of some hardware or software. Speeds could be slower and may vary due to various factors such as number of users or connections, the end-user’s hardware and software, the connection method (wireless, fixed or satellite), source and type of content downloaded.

      In short – iiNet is happy to work with customers to ensure they receive the maximum speeds available. iiNet’s BoB2, BoB Lite and Budii hardware are all NBN ready.

      We look forward to welcoming you to the NBN :)

      Natalie (iiNet, Communications Officer)

  9. Eric says:

    Hi iinet.
    My concern is how much will the NBN effect the speed and capacity of the Backbone Network, which I find is the major limiter of download speed.
    e.g. I have an ADSL2 connection through an iinet subsidiary. My connection speed to the exchange is the stated 20Mbs. However when I do a speed test using Spintel, to their NT mirror (I live in Alice Springs) I get a download speed of 203KB/s. If I test to their SA mirror this drops to 191KB/s and to their NSW mirror it drops further to 151KB/s. If I test to an overseas site it can drop to 80 KB/s or worse.

    Obviously the speed limiting factor is the Backbone, not my local connection. So just how much will the NBN improve things for me ?

    There is no point in having a 100Mb/s connection to the house if the Backbone can’t keep up with it.

    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi Eric,

      Firstly, when doing speedtests we would recommend using either the iiNet FTP or They are more likely to produce reliable results and less limited by the server-end capacity.

      Part of the NBN also involves installing greater bandwidth to the points of interconnect after which it’s up to the ISPs to have enough bandwidth for the rest of the backhaul network, something which iiNet does monitor and keep an eye on.


  10. Dustin says:

    Just thought I’d throw in my experiences here.
    I’m connected with WestNet on the 100/40 plan in Coffs Harbour.
    On ADSL2 I was getting ~4-7mbit (fairly far away from the exchange). On the NBN I get 96mbit down, 36mbit up. Connected to a server of mine in the states I get about 12MiB/s download speed.
    Here’s a speedtest result:

    Also ping wise, to Sydney I used to get 20-30ms on ADSL2, the NBN brought that down to a solid 10ms. The speed test above reports as low as 5ms to the Internode server.

    With the NBN you get pretty close to what you pay for, it’s not like ADSL where you only get a fraction of what you pay for.

    Before I got the NBN this was one of my major concerns (as no one really explains what sort of real world speeds you get). I hope my post here clears things up :)

    • Anthony says:

      @Dustin, Dustin, thanks for your post and speedtest link…it does indeed clear up some of the confusion. And give a real world example of possible connection speeds. Cant wait for the NBN here in Leichhardt.

    • Patrick says:

      That is awesome, I still have 2-3 years to wait but the end result will be worth it this is my current test, the speed is fine but that ping to Perth from Australind (150km) is ridiculous :(

    • BJ says:

      @Dustin, I have a connection here in Armidale. 100/40 and I get close to that most of the time. Only problem is everyone else’s infrastructure can’t keep up!

  11. David says:

    So my existing ADSL2+ provides speeds upwards of 15Mbps but the basic NBN package only provides 12Mbps? How does that work? And the packages are more expensive than my current plan. Why would I switch?

    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi David,

      The NBN is also to help users who can’t achieve the minimum spec speeds. If you are on a better deal with price/quota/speed, there should be a similar plan to match yours but for users wanting higher speeds or a better speeds it’s also there to tailor to them.


    • Patrick says:

      @David, If you are happy with what you have then don’t switch.

  12. Jack says:

    This is very exciting at the moment, will the wait be worth it.
    Checking Bob2 technical specifications Bob and Bob2 have a NBN download maximum of 85Mbps- NBN/FTTP Data Rates Up to 85Mbps / 40Mbps (down/up).
    Will the Bob Series be capable of a Firmware upgrade to 100Mbps?

    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi Jack,

      Currently those are the maximum in-practice speeds we’ve been able to squeeze out of the BoB2 on NBN connections. This limit is likely a maximum limitation of the hardware in use and probably won’t increase in future firmware revisions.


  13. vic tori says:

    Hi all,

    Just wanted to say I was one of the lucky first to get fibre at home. I connect wirelessly via my boblite and things are seemless. Before I would purchase a movie on my apple tv and then go pop some popcorn and make a coffee … read a book … before it was ready to watch. Now I select the movie and it is instantly there!

    Hope it rolls out to all quickly.

    p.s. I am a low end internet user with the smallest plan

  14. Kevin says:

    If I sign up NBN with lowest speed and lowest monthly data limit and upgrade the speed / data limit whenever I like from toolbox or do I have to contact iiNet to change the speed ?

    My understand it probably harder to downgrade the plan from upper package to lowest package.

    • Tal Waterhouse says:

      Hi Kevin,

      You’re free to change your NBN plan and turbo pack through toolbox, we’ll make the arrangements to have the change done with NBN once you request it.

      Downgrades and upgrades are performed by us just as easily as each other. The only way a downgrade could be harder is having to with the lower speed and quota 😉


  15. Tim says:

    Just to add some further info to this post regarding actual vs theoretical speeds. I recently connected to the NBN with iiNet on the 500gb @ 100/40 plan.

    Overall I am delighted. My speedtest results are available from this link –

  16. Phillip says:

    I cannot wait any longer. I live in Liverpool NSW….. Please tell NBN to hurry up!!!

  17. Greg says:

    I have only one problem with the nbn. i would like to see it rolled out to those who dont have access to cable or adsl first!!!! I live in an area with cable and am more than happy with the speed we currently enjoy. I have also lived in the past in areas not so lucky. Guess what? The nbn will get to us before them.
    What the….?

  18. Wes Paas says:

    Question! At the moment I have ADSL2 through a netgear modem. I believe this modem is not fibre capable. Can I just connect my computer straight into the NBN termination device with an Ethernet cable? Speed is not important for me.

    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi Wes,

      It is possible to connect your computer directly to an NBN Fibre connection (it uses a standard Ethernet cable) and you will be able to access the Internet. However this will limit you to connecting one device to the Internet. I would recommend using a router however as they provide some extra protection from direct internet threats due to a specialised inbuilt firewall and hiding your computers/devices behind Network Address Translation (or NAT). Plus they allow you to connect multiple devices and with wireless capability you can connect your smartphones/laptops/tablets as well.


  19. Darren heffernan says:

    A couple of questions
    Are there any any unlimited downloads plans at the max speeds?

    If you have a limit and exceed it what speeds could you expect to drop too?

    Kind regards,

    • Adam O'grady says:

      Hi Darren,

      We don’t currently have any unlimited download plans available on NBN, however our max plan does go up to 500GB on-peak, 500GB off-peak. You can see what we have available on our website. The shaping terms are also available there, current NBN Fibre plans are shaped to 256kbps/256kbps.


  20. abdiel says:

    @abdiel, Not scheduled for any construction for quite a while, so … will I continue to pay top dollar for a lesser service?

    • Tal Waterhouse says:

      Hi Abdiel,

      The construction areas for the NBN rollout are determined by NBN Co.

      Until it’s rolled out to you we’ll continue to provide you with the best service in your area and assist with any issues encountered with it. If you’re presently experiencing any issues with your service it would be best to give our support team a call on 13 22 58.


  21. Kimi says:

    Hi iinet,

    I ues internet a lot,so i was worried that 500G will not be enough for me.So why there isnt an unlimited plan or will it be in the future?

    • Amy Pearce says:

      Hi Kimi,

      That is correct, iiNet do not offer unlimited plans.
      How much data are you currently using? ..if you don’t mind me asking?


  22. MIchael says:

    I often wonder why telcos determine that we need more download speed than upload speed. The content for everyone to download has to come from somewhere.
    The manner in which fiber optic works, would suggest that the system is capable of pulling similar speeds in both directions, even over large distances.

  23. Aaron Mason says:

    Hi iiNet peeps

    I noticed on the FAQ that each port of the NBN NTD can support a separate connection from different providers (if the need arise) – do they all share a 100mbit pipe or do they all get 100mbit each?


    • Tal Waterhouse says:

      Hi Aaron,

      Each FTTP UNI-D port would be capable of its own 100 Megabit connection provided each port has a relevant plan chosen with a retail service provider.