So you’ve checked when the National Broadband Network (NBN) will arrive in your area, thanks to iiNet’s handy What’s available at your address tool.
Depending on your location, you’ll be offered either a Fibre or Fixed Wireless connection. This is determined by NBN Co and about 4% of the Australian population will be eligible for a Fixed Wireless NBN connection.
But what’s the difference and what can you expect?
Also known as Fixed Line, a Fibre NBN connection uses fibre optic cable technology. Fibre optic cable is made of glass and uses light to transmit data with speeds much faster than over the traditional copper network.
It’s important to note that the NBN network will replace the existing copper network. 18 months after an area becomes “NBN-ready”, the copper network will be disconnected. So you really must upgrade to the NBN before disconnection happens - if you want to continue using the internet and phone services – which I’m sure you do!
Some of the additional advantages of a Fibre NBN connection include:
The equipment required for a Fibre NBN connection is shown in the diagram below. For more information on installation see our helpful video on the iiNet YouTube channel: NBN Installation and equipment.
A common misconception is that Fixed Wireless is somehow related to mobile or WiFi connectivity. In fact, the name refers to the type of technology used.
An NBN Fixed Wireless connection transmits data using radio signals instead of cables and offers speeds up to 25/5Mbps. Fixed transmission towers or base stations communicate ‘over the air’ with specific NBN equipment that’s inside and outside your home. Because data is transmitted by radio signals ‘line of sight’ from the tower to your equipment is essential.
But back to the comparison with “mobile connectivity”. Why is a Fixed Wireless connection more reliable than Mobile Wireless. Fixed Wireless delivers services to a fixed number of premises with a coverage area. While Mobile Wireless may service a variable number and types of devices. So during peak periods (when lots of people are trying to connect to the Internet) Fixed Wireless offers more reliable speeds because the bandwidth per household is more consistent.
The diagram below shows the equipment for a Fixed Wireless NBN connection. When the outdoor antenna is installed it’s specifically pointed in the direction of the fixed wireless facility (transmission tower or base station) to help pick up those radio signals.
Fixed Wireless lets iiNet provide NBN services to locations that are difficult or not cost effective to reach with fixed lines technologies.
If you’re in an NBN Fixed Wireless coverage area NBN Co will conduct a radio signal survey to make sure your home can receive a high quality broadband service via Fixed Wireless. If the signal isn’t strong enough we can explore other non-NBN internet services with you.
It’s also worth noting that in Fixed Wireless areas we can also provide a NetPhone service. This means you can use the NBN to make phone calls too! Note that customers serviced via a NBN fixed wireless will NOT have the copper network servicing their property disconnected.
TL;DR – A handy summary of main differences between Fibre and Fixed Wireless
No matter where you live and what kind of NBN connection you’ll receive – iiNet has got your back. If you’re interested in the NBN, when it will arrive in your area and what you have to do, just join our NBN Interest Register. We’ll take care of the rest!
As NBN experts, we’re keen to provide you with helpful information and articles on the NBN. Is there a topic that you’d like to know more about? Just leave your suggestion in the comments below and we’ll tackle it in a future article on the iiNet Blog.
Photo credit: x_tine