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nbn jargon busters: Everything you need to know

nbn

Posted on June 13, 2018

6 min read

With the nbn™ now available at more than half of Australian homes and businesses, it’s time for most of us to think about making the move. We’ve broken down some of the tech terms to help you find your way through the move to the new network.

National Broadband Network: The government-owned nbn™ network is being rolled out to provide Australians with access to a reliable broadband connection. Once the nbn™ network is available in your area, we can help you get set up with the broadband, home phone and internet services you want.

nbn: Formerly known as NBN Co, nbn is an Australian government-owned company that was established in 2009 to design, build and operate Australia’s new broadband network.

RSP or ISP: Retail Service Provider or Internet Service Provider. These are companies like Telstra that operate retail services on the nbn network – like your home or business internet connection. ISP is actually an outdated term, since the nbn network allows for more services than just internet to be delivered over the network.

MTM: Multi-Technology Mix: nbn’s Multi-Technology Mix refers to the expanded mix of technologies (see descriptions below) that nbn is using to roll out the broadband network to Australians. nbn’s MTM includes Fibre to the Premises, Fibre to the Building, Fibre to the Node, Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial, Fibre to the Curb, Fixed Wireless and Satellite.

FTTP: Fibre To The Premises. The nbn fibre network is connected directly to an nbn Connection Box within a home or business.

FTTB: Fibre To The Building. The nbn fibre network is connected to nbn equipment at a single point in a building or apartment block, such as the basement. From there, existing copper runs directly to individual homes or businesses.

FTTN: Fibre To The Node. The nbn fibre network is connected to equipment (a node) installed in the street. From there, existing copper runs directly to individual homes or businesses.

HFC (Cable): Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial. HFC uses the same cables previously used to carry Pay-TV and Cable broadband to a wall plate in a home or business.

FTTC: Fibre to the Curb. Fibre to the curb is sometimes known as ‘fibre to the driveway’, where the nbn fibre network runs closer to a premises than FTTN and then uses existing copper to connect to a premises. Note the spelling of ‘curb’ is used by nbn in line with international standards, rather than the ‘kerb’ Australians may be more familiar with.

Fixed Wireless: A home or business is connected wirelessly to the nbn network using radio communications between an nbn Base Station/Tower and a fixed antenna installed outside the premises. Fixed wireless technology allows for access to nbn services in regional and rural locations, which are more difficult to reach with fixed-line technology.

Satellite: A communications network technology that uses satellite equipment like a radio dish installed at a home or business, to send and receive data via a satellite. This technology allows for access to nbn services in more remote areas, which are more difficult to reach with fixed-line technology.

Mbps: Megabits. The industry standard terminology for network connection speed for both download and upload, megabits are a unit of measurement for bandwidth like kilobits and gigabits. You’ll commonly see nbn plans described in terms of their download speed in megabits.

Download/Upload: Download speed, usually described in megabits, refers to the rate at which your connection can receive data from the internet – whether it is streaming or a file delivery (like a photo you have saved to your phone or laptop). Upload refers to the rate at which your connection can transmit data, like saving files to your cloud storage account or publishing a video to YouTube.

MDU: Multi-Dwelling Unit. Where several units are located within one building. A common type of MDU is an apartment building.

Modem: Also known as a Router or Gateway, this is a piece of equipment that is normally supplied by a Retail Service Provider, such as Telstra. It will usually allow you to access the nbn network with more than one device at a time, by a direct connection or via Wi-Fi. The type of modem a customer uses and where it is placed, will impact your broadband experience. We provide new customers, many customers moving to the nbn network and any customer moving home with a Telstra Smart Modem, which includes mobile failover.

Wi-Fi: Wi-Fi is actually a contraction of ‘wireless fidelity’, but it’s the popular name for a group of wireless networking protocols. Your phone or laptop should connect to your router using Wi-Fi, unless you physically connect it with an Ethernet (LAN) cable. It’s important to remember that you might access the internet through Wi-Fi, but Wi-Fi only refers to the very short distance network connection between your phone or laptop and your router.

LAN (Ethernet): Local Area Network. This refers to the home or business network of devices connected to your modem, but you’ll also see it in reference to a physical network cable – sometimes called an Ethernet cable. These cables use an RJ45 connector that looks like an oversized, rectangular landline telephone cable, and provide a hard-wired connection between a PC, TV or other network device and your modem.

VoIP: Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology used to transmit voice services digitally, over an internet connection. All phone services provided over the nbn network will use VoIP, and will generally require the phone to be connected to a compatible Gateway.

nbn Connection Box: The nbn Connection Box is a device installed inside your home or business by nbn in order to supply FTTP or Fixed Wireless services. Depending on the services you have ordered, your Gateway or phone will then be connected to one of the ports on the nbn Connection Box. The nbn Connection Box may sometimes be referred to as a Network Termination Device (NTD).

nbn Utility Box: The nbn Utility Box is where nbn connects its optical fibre to the outside of your home or office when installing an FTTP service. They then install a fibre connection from the nbn Utility Box to the nbn Connection Box inside your home of office. The nbn Utility Box may sometimes be referred to as a Premises Connection Device (PCD).

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