Which factors influence nbn™ connection speed?
Internet | 20 November 2018
Do you remember a time where you had to wait hours to download files from the internet and streaming high-quality video was difficult?
Those days are over and better internet is available to just about everyone in Australia thanks to the new nbn™ network.
However, there are still some limitations, depending on the type of nbn™ technology that has been rolled out at your premises. Even though you might have nbn™ internet advertised as a 100 Mbps download speed, you may not physically be able to achieve these speeds and not everything you attempt to access will download at that high rate.
Why? There are a variety of external reasons that can restrict you from being able to download at top speeds. Here are six key factors to consider.
#1. The destination of the host computer
It is important to remember that downloading something from the internet essentially means connecting to another computer (a server) and copying it to your computer. If the destination host computer you are downloading from is older or bogged down, the process can slow down considerably.
In most cases, there really isn’t any way to know if the site you are getting a file from is going to cause problems for download speeds. But you can make it a habit to stick to reputable websites where their servers are likely safer and much more equipped to handle an influx of traffic. (Plus, this also decreases the chance of accidentally downloading a virus or malware.)
#2. Global internet links
It might be hard to imagine in an age where Wi-Fi is so common, but the entire internet is actually connected through a series of cables buried deep underground. In some cases, this even includes those far under the ocean! If one of these wires between your home and the server you are downloading from breaks, there can be a little bit of a lag in terms of download speed.
Think of it like seeing an accident on the road on your way home from work – you can still get to where you are going, but you have to take a detour. This is the same process that happens with data if there’s an issue with a global internet link.
#3. The backhaul network connecting your area
If you’re connecting via satellite internet or a mobile device, the backhaul network connecting your area might be a factor when it comes to your download speed. What does this mean? A backhaul is a connection between a phone tower and the internet. If the tower near your location hasn’t been upgraded to the latest technology, it might not be able to handle 100 Mbps download speeds at all. Unfortunately, this is a common occurrence for those who live in rural areas.
#4. Your internet connection hardware
Your modem or router may also be the culprit when it comes to slow download speeds. If your equipment is several years old or hasn’t had the firmware updated, you might not be able to access 100 Mbps download speeds. Furthermore, your device might not even be compatible with the nbn™ network, which can create bigger connectivity issues. If this is the case, it might be time to consider an upgrade to ensure you’re always getting top speeds.
#5. The performance of your home network and equipment
The wires inside the walls of your home might also be an issue when it comes to download speeds. If you have a home network connection, there’s a good chance it might include Cat 5 cable, which isn’t able to handle speeds of 100 Mbps. Instead, consider some of the newer wireless routers and other systems available to help bypass the issue.
If your home network setup is newer or includes Cat 5e or Cat 6 cable, this should not affect your download experience. Another reason your download speed might not be ideal involves the computer or other devices you are using. If your technology is a few years old or doesn’t have updated software, this can make the process much slower. Instead, consider upgrading the item or having a computer professional check your software settings.
#6. Physical limitations on the nbn™ technology at your premises
If your premises is serviced by nbn™ Fibre to the Node (FTTN) or Fibre to the Basement (FTTN), the maximum speeds you can obtain on your connection are dependant on the maximum sync rate of your copper line. If you log into the modem and go into the status screen, look for an attainable rate/line rate/current rate/downstream figure (usually in Kbps). This figure can slightly differ on each modem depending on the make and model.
This will indicate what speeds you can expect to achieve on your service, so if your line rate is 25Mbps, this means you won’t achieve speeds above this – even if you are on a higher plan.