What is the NBN?

Where is the NBN in the Internet?

The NBN or National Broadband Network is a business that is laying new technology connections for Australia's internet.
In the past, the Internet has been connected to businesses and homes by a mixture of old wired technologies.

Using light in a 'fibre optic' cable allows far better performance for the internet and this is the main technology being used by the NBN.

In the past an ISP or Internet Service Provider would provide cable or lease wire phone lines to connect to business or home premises.

The NBN now (mostly) owns the connection infrastructure between premises and ISP's.
Rental is then paid to the NBN for ISPs to sell internet services to business and home customers.


Why are there Problems with Internet Connections with NBN?

The major parts of the NBN internet are connected by very fast fibre optic cable. This is the 'backbone' for traffic between cities and the main internet connections.
For cost reasons, the fibre optic cable is not used, in most cases, to connect from the main backbone and business or residences.
The last part of the connection is by a range of technologies even, in some cases, using existing wired connections. This means that the speed of the fast fibre optic cable is restricted by the last part of the connection to your home or business.

Because ISPs are renting infrastructure from the NBN they have also underestimated customer demand and not rented enough capacity, again leading to restrictions in internet performance.

In some instances the NBN has had problems with the sharing the fibre optic connection between premises over certain types of wired connections.

What are the types of Internet Connections with NBN?

The diagram shows some typical connections that are used from the main 'backbone' fibre optic cable to the 'nodes'.
A node is a distribution point that connects many businesses, homes or multi-story residences in an area to the internet.
Some of these will have direct fibre optic cable connections but many will have copper wire connections via existing wires.
In the case of remote rural areas it is not possible to lay a cable all the way so satellite connections are used.


The NBN owns all the infrastructure up to the ISP connection.
The black boxes labelled NBN are the various types of connection boxes that might be used to connect to the premises.
Usually there will be an ISP supplied device also connected to provide the services to the client. These have not been shown for clarity.

Other Internet Connections

The NBN is not a supplier for the mobile phone network which is provided by telecommunications companies as a separate network.
The mobile phone network is however connected to the internet so that mobile phones can get internet information.

Suppliers of public WiFi services have to be connected to the NBN to provide internet services.
These public wifi connections are thus subject to the problems of the NBN.

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