The 7 different nbn™ connection types

Internet | 6 April 2018

Do you find the nbn™ rollout confusing?

Don’t worry, you’re not alone. There is a lot of new terms and technology to come to grips with.

One area in particular that a lot of people don’t understand is the nbn™ connection types. What are they are how does it affect you?

The nbn™, as it rolls out nationwide, is trying to take advantage of the infrastructure that already exists in an attempt to speed up the process. This means that different locations have different technology and connection types.

To help you understand more about all of this, let’s take a closer look at the 7 different nbn™ connection types, split into fixed line and fixed wireless connections.

Fixed-line nbn™ connection types

Fixed-line connections run a physical line directly to your property.

Fibre to the premises (FTTP)

The FTTP connection is considered to be the best nbn™ connection type because it is typically more consistent in its delivery of high-speed internet. This type of connection is unique because it has a fibre optic cable run directly to your premises.

It’s estimated that between 17-21% of all premises will connect to the nbn™ via FTTP. And if you’re one of the lucky ones with an FTTP connection, you won’t have to pay more just for the privilege!

Want to check if you are on FTTP already? Here is a visual of the equipment setup:
nbn connection type - FTTP

Source: NBN

Fibre to the node (FTTN)

FTTN makes use of existing copper cables instead of the more modern fibre optic cables, which have greater bandwidth. Despite it being considered a cheaper alternative to FTTP, you are likely to experience slower upload and download speeds.

It is likely that at some stage in the future the copper cables used for FTTN connections will be replaced by fibre optic.

Fibre to the building (FTTB)

The next nbn™ connection on the list is FTTB, which is most common for apartment blocks and similar buildings.

The primary installation for an FTTB connection will be found in a secure cabinet in your building’s basement or communication room. From there, the nbn™ is delivered to your apartment via the cable infrastructure that is already present – be it copper in older buildings, or ethernet cables in newer installations.

Fibre to the curb (FTTC)

FTTC is a nice compromise between the challenging installation of FTTP and the reduced performance of FTTN. FTTC connects a distribution unit, usually housed in a pit in the ground, with the existing copper network via fibre.

Below is a visual representation of what the FTTC technology looks like:
nbn connection type - FTTC

Source: NBN

Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC cable)

The HFC connection is used when an existing pay TV cable, such as an old Foxtel connection, enables the final part of the nbn™ connection to reach your property. HFC is the oldest technology that powers the nbn™ network and it is only serving a small catchment area where it has already been installed.

Below is a diagram of the HFC technology setup:
nbn connection type - HFC

Source: NBN

Fixed wireless and satellite nbn™ connection types

Fixed wireless and satellite connections are used in rural areas where properties are widespread or have limited access to adequate infrastructure. They are a bridging service that helps more people get onto the network.

Fixed wireless

These connections use a similar technology to the 4G phone networks you would be familiar with. They run from a transmission tower for up to 14 kilometres in distance to an nbn™ antenna fitted to your house.

Data travels from a transmission tower to an nbn™ outdoor antenna that has been fitted to the premises by an approved nbn™ installer.

Fixed Wireless connections also require an nbn™ connection box to be installed at the point where the cable from the nbn™ outdoor antenna enters your premises (shown below). This device requires power to operate, and can only be installed by an approved nbn™ installer or a phone and internet provider.

Nbn Antenna


The final nbn™ connection type on the list is satellite. The Sky Muster™ satellites provide network access to remote areas such as Norfolk Island and other hard-to-reach destinations.

To access a satellite connection you will need both an nbn™ qualified modem and a satellite dish installed on your property. Just like the diagram below:
nbn connection type - satellite

Source: NBN

Want to find out which nbn™ connection type you have available in your home?

Check your address for availability here and chat with a MATE representative.