How does the NBN affect how you use the Internet?

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How does the NBN affect how you use the Internet?

By now, you’ve probably heard about the National Broadband Network (NBN). It’s the government’s answer to faster, more reliable Internet – and it’s changing the way we do things online. To wrap your head around how the NBN can affect you, here’s what you need to know.

Understanding the NBN

The NBN is an Australia-wide project funded by the Federal Government. Put simply, its purpose is to make sure all homes and businesses across the country have a fast and reliable Internet connection.

So how do you get connected? Firstly, it’s important to understand that switching over isn’t automatic. You’ll have to check the rollout map to see whether the NBN is available, or when it will become available in your neighbourhood. If you’re good to go, all you need to do is choose a new NBN plan with your provider. While the government covers the cost of installation (in most cases), just keep in mind you’ll still need to pay your provider a monthly fee.

The great thing is, the NBN shouldn’t be more expensive – unless you want the fastest speeds available. The government is controlling pricing to make sure it’s fair for everyone to connect. The NBN usually comes in four speed tiers:

  • NBN 12: 12Mbps download / 1Mbps upload
  • NBN 25: 25Mbps download / 5Mbps upload
  • NBN 50: 50Mbps download / 20Mbps upload
  • NBN 100: 100Mbps download / 40Mbps upload

For the top two tiers, you’ll have to pay more – either by choosing a more expensive plan or by getting a “Speed Boost” on a standard NBN plan. If you’re unsure how fast your Internet needs to be, just have a chat to your provider.

Advantages of the NBN

Of course, the biggest advantage of the NBN is how fast it is. However, it’s what you can do with the speed that’s important. Whether it’s watching your favourite TV shows, researching your travel plans, or simply checking your emails, the NBN lets you do everything more efficiently.

But it’s not just fast for you – it’s fast for anyone using the Internet under your roof. For example, with a full house over Christmas, everyone can connect at the same time – no matter how many laptops, iPads or mobile phones are being used. They can enjoy quick access to whatever content they want when they want it – whether it’s video streaming, music downloads, or even live TV.

The NBN is all about connection – in more ways than one. We’re talking about contacting friends, family and work colleagues. With clearer and more reliable video calls, you can see the people you care about, without any interruptions. With fast speeds, the NBN also makes working from home a very real (and very exciting) possibility.

Factors that can affect your Internet speed

As amazing as the NBN is, technology isn’t always perfect. So if your Internet connection isn’t performing at its best, this might come down to a number of internet speed factors, such as:

  • Problems with the internal network. This refers to the quality and length of the copper wiring (if you have it). While it’s not ideal to have copper wiring, sometimes Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connection is the only option for your home. The good thing is, the NBN usually repairs any network faults caused by copper wiring.
  • Weather conditions. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how waterproof things are, water finds a way in. When the weather is really bad, water can leak into copper wiring and affect your signal strength. This can be temporary or permanent. The best thing you can do is chat to a professional who can check for leaks, stress points, and test the wiring.

  • WiFi interference. This is probably the most common factor for slow or jumpy Internet speeds. While many electronic devices can affect your WiFi signal, the biggest concerns are usually your neighbours. The reason being that wireless routers transmit WiFi spectrums. Essentially, when too many households in a close area are using WiFi, the spectrums can overlap and slow each other down. To combat this, you’ll need to find the best WiFi channel.
  • Too many devices on the network. Even though the whole family can enjoy connecting to faster Internet, sometimes this can slow things down a bit. While NBN speeds can cater to many devices at once, things like long downloads, online gaming, or big uploads can clog up your bandwidth.
  • Network congestion. It’s worth noting that your Internet Service Provider (ISP) allocates broadband in certain ways. For example, how they designate at peak times, especially after 6 pm when most of us are back home using the Internet, can affect the speed of your Internet. So if your connection feels a little clogged, this could be the reason. 

A better online experience

When it comes down to it, the NBN is about improving the way we experience the Internet. To make the most of it, all you need to do is find out if it’s available in your area, chat to your provider, and get connected.

Gwen is a mother, daughter, wife & writer. Just one of many Wonder Women in the world.

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