How far are you from an NBN node

How far are you from the NBN node,
and does it matter?

How far are you from an NBN node

To answer the second question first it does matter and it can influence the speed of the Internet delivered to your premises.


It is an undisputed rule that distance counts. If you are more than about 600 meters from a node your likely speed drops from the ability to deliver 100 MBPS to about 50 MGBS.

The Telcos like Telstra and Optus have finally admitted this and offering compensation for the early users that were mislead based on the ability to achieve a given speed.

I have written before about the many inputs that may vary the actual ability of the NBN to perform to your requirements.

You have little control over the inputs with distance and channel loading but you can now be armed with information to make that informed decision.

If you are going to fork out the cost of a 100 MBPS download speed you would be correct to believe you should get somewhere near that.

The same goes for the lower speeds as well but the vagaries are not as severe.

Backing up the truck here let’s look at where we started and why the change.

NBN version One was a fibre to the premises concept fully replacing any copper element of the network.
The NBN network is designed to deliver to the masses a chosen speed up to 100 MBPS

Due to the cost of installing a brand new network and the time to complete the infrastructure, it was decided to deliver the network to a node that could interact as a hub to a local area. Called FTTN or Fibre to the node.
We also, for a few lucky punters, have a better delivery to the curb or to the premises.


The fibre service goes to a Node and is this distributed to the premises on the old and fragile copper network

Most of us are stuck with FTTN and here begins the problem.

The ability of the network deteriorates with the distance of the copper connection much the same as it did with ADSL.
If you are more than 600 meters from a node you will never achieve maximum speed.

How far are you from a Node?

How far are you from a Node. This my friends is a good question.

A node or hub will be a green box or tower somewhere near your premises. You might see it placed in your street and then pace out the distance and Vola 400 paces close enough to 400 meters.

You might think so but you would think wrong.

Your lead may go to the end of the street away from you, change to the other side of the road, cross a couple of times, go to the other end of the street and back to you, now having traveled 1000 meters while still being in kicking distance.

It is not an exact science or even close and to discover the actual distance is probably impossible.

Combatants have tried going to Freedom of information requests only to be ignored.

It is evident that complaints to the ACCC or via the ombudsman have made the carriers reassess there marketing strategies and in many cases settle disputes with early adopters.

So what can you do.

I spoke to one company today and they stated than on the lodgement of a legitimate NBN request
they would provide a best estimate disclosure. Yes you should be able to get your required download speed . If practical completion was different you can change plans and opt for what is available.

However if they stated that a speed between say 60 and 100 is available and you downgrade to 50 MBPS that is the maximum you will get. You have 30 days in which to choose without any penalties.

They are now so strict on this, probably not wanting to pay out compensations, that you must sign off on the report before they will begin the change to your service.

At least you have a starting point on just one of the element of success. At best you will achieve the speed promised.

What is at best?

Well, no one downloading, no one talking on the phone, good cabling and a capable computer.

Then there is Channel stuffing.

The carriers buy access from the NBN in bandwidth and then they sell that access to you the user.
The more players in the band the slower the speed you will get.

Is this the fault of the NBN?

I am a yes/no man on this as I believe that they should have more control but saying that it does come down to price and many want the cheapest available pricing.

One solution is you can now select a plan based on channel loading with some carriers.

A home service when it matters not that you’re slow in busy periods costs less than a premium service that balances the traffic over the given pipe and caters for those busy times. Premium cost but better service.

There are so many variables to consider with the NBN that will affect your experience.

I hope these short reports help in some way.

Peter Hanley

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