The National Broadband Network offers two connection types, namely fixed wireless and fibre, also known as a fixed line. Thus, an NBN fixed line is, essentially, an internet connection over fibre optic cable. So, let’s take a closer look at how it works and the difference to a fixed wireless internet connection.
How Does an NBN Fixed Line Work?
An NBN fixed line is a connection that relies on fibre optic cables to deliver broadband services to your premises. Fibre optic cable is made out of thousands of strands of glass, each as thin as a human hair. The advantage to this type of cable is that data travels at much higher speeds than on a classic copper cable.
This type of connection also can transmit data over much longer distances and with less degradation of the signal. In other words, the quality of the signal doesn’t weaken, so you’ll much more consistent service.
Unlike copper wires, fibre connections are also resistant to ground currents and noise, which might disrupt a signal. It’s also capable of supporting really high bandwidths, so multiple users can be online concurrently without the speed suffering.
In general, with a fibre connection, you’ll experience much faster speeds, shorter download times, faster upload times and, generally, a much better experience.
It’s important to note, though, that NBN fixed line connections come in different flavors. Thus, you have fibre to premises, fibre to node, fibre to basement, and fibre to driveway.
Fibre to Premises (FTTP)
The FTTP connection is considered to be the best possible NBN connection. A fibre optic cable with multiple ribbons is installed along the street and connects to the distribution hub. An entire fibre of the ribbon is dedicated to each premises, meaning that you get the fastest connection possible.
Fibre to Node (FTTN)
An FTTN connection means that fibre optic cable is used to connect to the node. From the node, or distribution hub, to the premises, though, the connection uses the copper telephone cable already in place.
Fibre to the Basement (FTTB)
FTTB tends to be the default for NBN connected apartments. Essentially, a fibre optic cable connects the hub to your block’s telecommunication infrastructure and from there, the service is delivered to each apartment using the cables already installed.
Fibre to the Driveway (FTTD)
FTTD is similar to FTTP in that a fibre optic cable is run along the street, but instead of fibre cables branching out to each premises, the existing copper cables are used, like with the FTTN connection. The advantage is that there’s a lot less copper involved since it’s only used on the last leg of the connection and not all the way from the distribution hub.
What About NBN Fixed Wireless Connections?
First of all, it’s important to note that NBN fixed wireless connections are completely unrelated to mobile or Wi-Fi connectivity. The name simply refers to the type of tech being used to get broadband services to your premises.
These types of connections rely on radio signals to carry the data instead of cables. So, an antenna on the user’s property communicates with a ground station via air. The antenna is then connected to an NBN Connection Box in your building, which in turn connects to a modem router.
Though there are certain limitations, like a maximum distance of 14 km between the antenna and the tower, as well as a relatively clear line of sight between the two, fixed wireless connections are the best option to get internet broadband services to remote areas.
Now, the advantage of an NBN fixed wireless connection over a mobile connection is that it’s much more reliable. A single tower will service a limited number of properties within the coverage area, whereas mobile towers offer service to a varied number of devices.
Thus, when lots of people are trying to get online, a fixed wireless connection will always offer better speeds and more reliable service because of the limited number of people connected to it.