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how does nbn work?

The nbn™ network uses a range of broadband technologies including new fibre-optic cable, existing copper lines, fixed wireless and satellite to deliver Internet to all Australian homes and businesses.

There are seven types of connection involved with nbn™.

The first type of nbn™ connection is known as Fibre to the Premises or FTTP. This type of connection includes a fibre optic connection between the fibre distribution hub and your home and is considered the fastest connection type available.

Another nbn™ connection type is known as Fibre to the Node or FTTN. This type of connection is a fibre optic cable which runs from the fibre distribution hub to a node in a residential street. The final connection between the street and your home is a copper line, like your traditional telephone cable. It’s still a fast broadband connection but speeds do vary between FTTP and FTTN connections.

A similar type of connection is Fibre to the Basement or FTTB and applies to apartment buildings. It consists of fibre cable running from the distribution hub to your apartment building’s basement and from there it’s conducted through the apartment’s existing telephone infrastructure.

The final nbn™ connection that uses copper telephone lines is Fibre to the Curb or FTTC. This is like FTTN, but instead of a node, the copper wiring starts at a telecommunications pit on the footpath in front of your house (also called a distribution point unit). Instead of hundreds or more metres, the copper cabling on an FTTC connection is often under 100 metres. As such, it’s much faster than FTTN and FTTB.

Hybrid Fibre Coaxial or HFC is also known as cable internet. This type of connection uses fibre optic cable most of the way to your house, after which coaxial cable finishes the journey. This differs from FTTB, FTTN and FTTC because coaxial cabling is a shielded copper technology. As such, it can transfer data more quickly and over longer distances without signal degradation. HFC also usually has a much shorter distance between you and where the fibre cabling terminates when compared to FTTN.

Finally, Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster satellite are wireless technologies used. Fixed Wireless is a technology that connects rural and regional areas to the nbn™. It uses ground-based base tower stations to provide a wireless signal to your home. Fixed wireless essentially uses the same technology as existing 4G mobile networks in Australia from Telstra, Optus and Vodafone. Fixed wireless cells are optimised for the number of users in each location and have dedicated fibre backhaul to the nearest point of interconnect (POI).

Sky Muster satellite, on the other hand, is another wireless service that delivers the nbn™ to homes and businesses in more remote areas of Australia, via two satellites.