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nbn, 5G, Wi-Fi, LANs and WLANs: it’s all about home

Nowadays, home internet comes in a few different shapes and sizes, and we love all of them. Whether it’s new tech, established tech, tech we don’t quite understand yet (but will get to the bottom of!): we embrace it all. But getting the right one for you and your household is what matters most.

That’s where two popular players come onto the field: nbn and 5G.

nbn is a well-established home internet option, and if you’re reading this article on a PC at home, chances are you’re using it. 5G, on the other hand, is fairly new in the home internet space with limited (but increasing) availability and capacity depending on where you live.

The big reveal: which home internet can you get?

nbn or 5G Home Internet

Ready to do a little homework? The first part of figuring out which internet is right for your home is dependent on where you live. And finding out is as easy as throwing your address in our Address Checker, below to see what’s available to you. If you’re only eligible for nbn, it will show you which specific type (there are 6, but more on that later). 

Please remember that Telstra 5G Home Internet is still in its early stages and limited to certain areas.

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You can connect to the nbn network via Hybrid Fibre Coaxial technology.
Your address

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You can connect to the nbn network via Fibre to the Premises technology.
Your address

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You can connect to the nbn network via Fibre to the Building technology.
Actual FTTB speeds will be confirmed once you’re connected.
Your address
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    Download speed range
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You can connect to the nbn network via Fibre to the Node technology.
Actual FTTN speeds will be confirmed once you’re connected.
Your address
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You can connect to the nbn network via Fibre to the Curb technology.
Actual FTTC speeds will be confirmed once you’re connected.
Your address
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You can connect to the nbn network via Fixed Wireless technology.
Your address

Great! You can get connected via Cable now

Our cable plans are nbn-ready so you can switch easily when the nbn arrives. For updates check the nbn rollout map

Note:There is a temporary pause on new nbn HFC connections. Learn more
Your address

Great! You can get connected via ADSL now

Our ADSL plans are nbn-ready so you can switch easily when the nbn arrives. For updates check the nbn rollout map

Note:There is a temporary pause on new nbn HFC connections. Learn more
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You can connect to Telstra Velocity. Please call us on 1800 008 994 to find out more and connect.
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Our nbn, ADSL and cable plans are currently unavailable in your area.
However, you may be able to use mobile broadband at your address. Mobile broadband connects you to our mobile network, at home or on the go. If you have any questions, please message us.
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The address you entered

Did you enter the correct street number or unit number?

 

Did you do it? If yes, congrats! You’re one step closer to finding the right internet for your home. If not, that’s okay, too – you can check your address at any time by returning here.

Now, we’re making an educated guess, but we suspect that most of you are eligible for nbn and only some of you for 5G Home Internet at this time. That’s why we’ll explain a bit more about nbn first and 5G second. Although if you’d prefer to jump straight to 5G, we’ll make it easy for you: 

Hold up, what about Wi-Fi, LANs and WLANs?

Wi-Fi explained

This is a local wireless network technology. That means you can connect to the internet within a certain area, like your home, without plugging a cable into your PC, tablet, phone or whichever device you’re using. The Wi-Fi signal is sent out from a modem and the modem gets its internet connection either from a cable (for nbn) or from the same mobile network you use on your phone (for 5G Home Internet).

So it goes:

  1. The internet
    A vast network that connects computers all over the world.
  2. Modem
    The modem gets its internet connection from nbn or 5G.
  3. Wi-Fi signal
    The Wi-Fi signal is sent out from a modem.
  4. Devices
    You reading this article on your device.

 

Remember, a Wi-Fi signal has limited range, that’s why you can only use it locally. Go too far and you lose the signal. Next-gen modems like the Telstra Smart Modem 3 have stronger Wi-Fi signals, so they can reach more corners of your house.

Also remember, when you enable a Wi-Fi hotspot on your phone or broadband device, you’re creating your own local mini network!

LAN and WLAN explained

These acronyms stand for: Local Area Network and Wireless Local Area Network. Does the second one sound familiar?

A Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) is basically the Wi-Fi network that your modem creates.

At the same time, your modem also creates a Local Area Network (LAN), but to access that, you’ll need to connect your device to the modem with an ethernet cable. Don’t worry too much about what “ethernet” means, you can just think of it as the name of the cable, similar to how you would talk about a USB cable, HDMI cable, lightening cable, etc.

nbn for your home

The National Broadband Network (nbn) is a government initiative that kicked off in 2011 to bring fast internet to Australia. It replaces the traditional copper telephone network as the main way for people to access the internet. It's about faster speeds and no more dial-up tones (remember those?).

Cartoon of a woman using a computer at her local cafe.

The nbn network uses a mix of technologies, including optical fibre cables (also called fibre optic cables), parts of the former copper telephone network, and hybrid fibre coaxial cable used for pay TV (depending on your location) to connect you to the internet.

The nbn network has more bandwidth, which means it can transmit larger chunks of data per second (Megabits per second or Mbps) than traditional analogue telephone copper cables. The higher the bandwidth, the faster you can download files, and maybe even more important, the more people can use the internet at the same time in your household. You’ll also want high bandwidth to stream 4K movies!

The introduction of optical fibre cables into the nbn network means your internet connection can carry data much further than copper cables, while minimising loss of signal strength (which would result in slower download speeds). 

nbn is Australia's go-to home internet

There are a few reasons for this:

  • It’s an established home internet technology.
  • You’re likely to have access to nbn, whereas you’re typically less likely to have access to 5G Home Internet for the time being.
  • It has reliable download speeds that are less affected by weather conditions, walls or ceilings, or electro-magnetic interference, although you may still be affected if you’re using Wi-Fi to connect to the internet. We have an article here with some tips on how to get better Wi-Fi performance.
  • It comes in various plans based on the download and upload speed your household needs depending on how many people are using the internet at the same time. That means you have more freedom to control your monthly bills by selecting a plan suited best to your needs. You can check out our nbn plans and see the different options.
  • It has lower latency than mobile networks, which is especially important if you play competitive online video games (think shooters, battle royals and MOBAs like CS:GO, Fortnite or DOTA).

6 different nbn types

Okay, so now we know what nbn is and why it’s the main way to connect to the internet in Australia. We also know how it works: data transmitted across a mix of optical fibre cables, copper and coaxial cables. The missing piece of info here, though, is that not every house or apartment in Australia is directly hooked up with an optical fibre cable.

Now, let's take a closer look at the different types of nbn in Australia. There are six in total, each entirely dependent on where you live.

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP)

With an optical fibre leading directly to the premises, FTTP is generally said to be the highest performing nbn connection type. 

Due to the complexity and cost of laying new fibre to each individual installation, it is also the least common.

Compatible Telstra nbn plans: Standard, Standard Plus, Premium, Superfast Add-On and Ultrafast Add-On.

Fibre to the Node (FTTN)

The most common nbn connection types are Fibre to the Node and Fibre to the Building.

FTTN brings optical fibre to a central point on your street (or nearby street), known as a "node”. From here, it utilises existing copper wire infrastructure to connect to a wall socket inside your premises.

Utilising a mix of new optical fibre and existing copper line networks allowed a faster rollout of the nbn, however, an FTTN connection isn't capable of reaching the potential speeds of having fibre installed directly to the premises (FTTP).

Compatible Telstra nbn plans: Standard, Standard Plus, Premium (select FTTN connections only).

Fibre to the Building (FTTB)

FTTB is the most common connection type for units, apartment buildings and many commercial buildings.

As with FTTN, an optical fibre leads to a central point in the building’s communications room, which then connects to your premises via the internal wiring already present (usually copper in older buildings, or ethernet cables in newer buildings).

Compatible Telstra nbn plans: Standard, Standard Plus, Premium (selected FTTB connections only).

Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)

With an optical fibre leading to a small telecommunications pit or pole outside your home, FTTC lies somewhere between the more complex FTTP connection and the simpler yet potentially lower-performing FTTN connection. 

It typically delivers faster potential speeds than Fibre to the Node connections, as the optical fibre network leads much closer to your connection point.

Compatible Telstra nbn plans: Standard, Standard Plus, Premium

Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC)

HCF connections utilise existing cable TV technology. Optical fibre leads to a node in your street, with a final stretch of coaxial cable to your premises. It has the potential to deliver fast download speeds, and is often compatible with our Superfast and Ultrafast nbn Add-Ons.

Compatible Telstra nbn plans: Standard, Standard Plus, Premium, Superfast Add-On (most HFC connections) and Ultrafast Add-On (some HFC connections).

Fixed Wireless

This technology is used in regional areas where it is not practical to lay physical fibre to connect to the network.

A fixed antenna is installed on the roof, which receives a signal from your local nbn wireless tower. Internal wiring then leads to the nbn connection box inside your premises.

Compatible Telstra nbn plans: Fixed Wireless Basic, Fixed Wireless Standard, Fixed Wireless Standard Plus.

nbn recap

That was a lot. Let's recap:

  • nbn is a government initiative to bring fast internet to Australians.
  • It’s the go-to home internet option for many because it’s established, fast, reliable, with flexible plans.
  • There are many different nbn types and the one you have access to depends entirely on where you live. If you skipped to the recap but want to learn about the different types, we have you covered: take me back.

Telstra offers a wide range of nbn home internet plans and bundles according to your nbn technology type, many of them featuring unlimited data and amazing speeds.

5G Home Internet

5G Home Internet uses the 5G mobile network to connect you to the internet. That means lightning-fast 5G speeds at your home with average download speeds that will let most people make a video call, search the web, stream tunes and videos, and play video games online - on multiple devices, all at once.

5G is a wireless network supported by antennas that transmit data to your 5G devices or modem via radio waves and it doesn’t need cables running to your home for it to work.

What you do need is a 5G Home Modem (which comes with a 5G Home Internet plan) that can receive a 5G signal and then broadcast it as a Wi-Fi signal. You can also connect the modem directly to your PC, laptop or TV with an ethernet cable (or any other device with an ethernet port).

So 5G Home Internet is available where you live. What now?

Now you can investigate whether it’s right for you.

Here are some of the benefits:
It’s fast. Like, really fast.
It has lots of bandwidth, which means it can transmit heaps of data at the same time. The more data that can be transmitted at the same time, the more people can simultaneously use the internet without things slowing down. So if you’re a large household with everyone streaming and downloading on different devices, lots of bandwidth is what you’re after.
It’s super easy to set up. Once you have your 5G modem, you just plug it into a power socket and boom, you’re online. No wondering which cable goes where, no technician appointments needed.
You can place your modem where you want in your home (as long as there’s a power socket nearby) so you can find the spot with the strongest 5G signal (probably near a window!)
Here are some things that may be a disadvantage to you:
Like any wireless technology (including Wi-Fi), the signal could be affected by things outside your control, like the weather, the walls or ceiling, or other types of interference. It’s hard to say to what extent someone may or may not be affected.
It’s low latency, but probably not quite low enough for serious gamers, especially in competitive gaming where you want that latency as low as you possibly can.. For standard internet use (browsing, email, streaming,...), though, it's no biggie. 

 

If you’re unsure, but curious, you can always try 5G Home Internet out for 1 month on us.

Why can’t you have 5G Home Internet?

There are two main reasons why 5G Home Internet may not be available to you:

  • 5G Home Internet hasn’t been rolled out in your area yet. We are expanding our 5G Home Internet footprint all the time, so please keep checking back to see if your address has become eligible.
  • Your home currently doesn’t pass our service qualification criteria.

That last one probably needs further explaining.

The 5G network, like all mobile technologies, relies on radio waves to connect you to the internet. Radio waves can only handle a certain capacity of people simultaneously accessing the internet and downloading or streaming. Don’t get us wrong, that capacity is huge – it’s why so many smartphone users are able to use it with no trouble.

But the average data usage on mobile is currently much lower than the average usage at home.

So if everyone suddenly switched their home internet to the 5G network, it would exceed current 5G network capacity and that network would become congested. And a congested network is a slow network.

To make sure download speeds remain lightning fast, we check a customer’s address before purchase to make sure they get suitable speeds. We are working to add more addresses as we continue to improve our 5G network.

5G Home Internet recap

That's a lot to take in. Let’s break it down:

  • 5G is a wireless mobile network that uses radio waves to connect you to the internet.
  • It’s available on the latest smartphones and now also at home.
  • It’s fast. And easy to set up.
  • Speed and network coverage may be subject to signal interference outside your (or our) control, like weather, walls and ceilings, or other electro-magnetic interference.
  • Latency is probably not low enough for serious or competitive gaming yet.
  • We’re still rolling out 5G for home to more areas and increasing capacity.

So, did you nail your home internet choice?

You made it. That was a lot to take in, so awesome job on getting to the end of this article. You now know as much as we do about home internet options!

There’s just one thing left to do - let’s get you connected. 

 

Check out your options: nbn or 5G Home Internet?

Enter your street address to find out which kind of home internet you can get. If you’re only eligible for nbn, our address checker will tell you which type.

Please remember that Telstra 5G Home Internet is still in its early stages and limited to certain areas.

5G and nbn at a glance

Telstra 5G wireless technology comes in 2 types: 5G Home Internet and 5G mobile broadband. The nbn is for home internet only.