What does an NBN connection look like in a new home?

We take a look at where the NBN’s fibre optic cable ends up when it’s run from the street to a new home

Some people, especially those in new housing estates, have been lucky enough to get a national broadband connection (NBN) to their home. The new connection puts fibre optic cabling directly in the premises and can offer speeds of up to 100Mbps (megabits per second) for downloads and 40Mbps for uploads from selected ISPs.

But what does an NBN connection actually look like when placed in a new home? Here are some photos showing one type of installation in a freestanding home in a greenfield housing estate in Sydney’s western suburbs. The installation you see here is in a garage.

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In the above photo, the main box that you can see is the NBN hub. This is the box at the bottom, and it’s from here that the fibre optic cable emerges from the wall. It’s also the place where all the wiring for the home can be found.

At the top-left of the photo is the power supply for the unit (an APC PowerShield), which gets its power directly from the wall outlet at the bottom-left, and then supplies the modem (a Dasan H64OGR) at the top-right of the picture. It’s actually an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), but for this installation a battery was not supplied by default. It must be purchased separately.

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The above photo shows what it’s like inside the box. In this setup, the fibre cable passes through a hole in the wall, and then up through a hole at the top of the hub box. It goes straight to the modem. From the modem, an Ethernet connection is made to a switch that is located (for this installation) inside the hub box. At the top-left is a passive video splitter, which takes in an antenna input for free-to-air TV, and then distributes it to other parts of the home (in this instance there are three antenna ports going to three different rooms).

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The blue wires that you see from the white switch in the above photo are connected to the patch panel for data in the photo below (there is also another one for voice). From the patch panel, the white cables travel to four Ethernet ports that are installed as wall outlets throughout the home.

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Any of the four Ethernet ports in the home can then be used to attach a wireless router and more easily distribute the Internet throughout the premises. In the photo below, you can see one of the Ethernet ports, and there is a port next to it that is unused. That port is for voice, but in this installation a voice plan was not enabled. (The wiring is there if needed in the future.)

In this example, a Netgear Nighthawk was used to connect to one of the Ethernet ports located in the study. The Ethernet connection went to the router’s WAN port in order to distribute the Internet connection.

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A fast router like the Nighthawk is essential in an installation like this since the speeds offered by the NBN connection (in this case from iiNet) can approach 100Mbps — the Nighthawk is an 802.11ac router and can supply very fast Wi-Fi speeds, and it also Gigabit Ethernet ports for directly connected computers.

A speed test conducted over wireless connection to a notebook shows that the NBN connection to this home is one to admire, with a 96.48Mbps download speed, and a 30.48Mbps upload speed.

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Do you have the NBN? Let us know if your setup is similar and what speeds you get.

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Elias Plastiras

Elias Plastiras

PC World

16 Comments

Tim

1

That white D-Link switch is not a good one to use as a central switch because it's only got a 2Gbps backplane. It's fine for the edges where only one or two devices will be used simultaneously (in fact, I have that exact one in my office) but using it as your central switch introduces a potential bottleneck for the entire house.

Your central switch should always have a 2Gbps per port (assuming a gigabit switch) i.e. a 5-port gigabit switch should have a 10Gpbs backplane.

SmartHomeUser

2

In a residential home this switch will make little difference to network performance. This is not an office environment, and even if every port was going flat out at 100Mbps with local switching its only going to generate 500Mbps per second.

It unlikely your home PC and other smart devices are going to generate more than 20-30Mbps throughput even if the interface on these devices 1Gbps. What in the home is going to generate and sustain that amount of traffic

Stephen

3

Funny, this is an OptiComm installation, not an NBNco installation - note the use of the APC UPS and the Dasan ONT. Nbnco uses Alcatel ONTs and Delta Electronics UPS.

jayz

4

I agree with Stephen. This is NOT an NBNco installation but appears to be Opticomm. Yes it's FTTH but the equipment is different. Also to be honest, that's a surprisingly 'messy' and cluttered installation for a green fields development. You'd think they could have a box on the wall that would include all the equipment within it not having all those cables and APC outside of it...

Tim

5

I should have specified that I have that switch in my *home* office ...

I regularly transfer multi-gigabyte files around my home network. I have multiple HTPCs, I work from home, there are multiple family members using my network.

If I had a 2Gbps backplane on my central switch it would most definitely limit the internal traffic sometimes.

If all the switch is doing is sharing the internet, then a 2Gbps backplane isn't going to be a bottleneck. If you only have a single device (e.g. a NAS) that serves files, again you won't be bottlenecked (since everything significant goes through the NAS network interface).

But once you have multiple machines that are talking to each other, the switch may become a bottleneck.

Ben J

6

Just to echo others, this is not an NBNco install.

Stephen G

7

Another obvious sign that it isn't an NBN service (apart from the NTU not being the white one with an NBN logo) is the Coax distribution. NBN Co aren't doing the RF overlay at all, instead expecting IPTV (like Fetch, etc.) to become more common.

Jay

8

Interesting...I thought we weren't getting Fibre to the Premise/Home these days, didn't the Libs kill this off? Also, I thought there was no modem necessary, just an RJ45 patch point into which you connect your PC directly, or a hub/router if you want to share wired/wireless connections?

Daniel

9

@Jay
FTTP is only for new estates now, and a miniscule bunch of brownfields if they're lucky.. welcome to the digital divide. As for your second statement.. how do you propose to convert an optical fibre signal to a copper cable signal without any modem :D

Also, the Labor version of the NBN was designed to be a GPON network, meaning a shared fibre from the central network running out to a local splitter that then runs off to serve anywhere from 32 – 128 homes (NBNCo picked 32). Thus making a provided modem absolutely necessary to decode your own encrypted traffic to your premises

John

10

The photos shown are not (noithing like) the NBN Co FTTP installation as echoed by several people above.
The NBN Co installation is shown here:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DRuFl393b9k&feature=youtu.be

Ren

11

I posted a comment earlier today stating that this was an Opticomm installation, NOT NBN. Seems that the author/editor/moderator didn't like me calling them out on this, so they deleted my post!

To make things worse, they really didn't want me to comment again, forcing me to use incognito mode to post this comment...

Peter from Brisbin

12

what a mess! If this is the level of installation, words such a professionalism, planned and attractive are missing from their job sheets. I have seen DYI installs that are better than this.

Geoff

13

Who was the pre-schooler that put that installation in place?

Paul - Proeye Comms & Security

14

Great to see that people actually take notice of a poor installation.

The CAT6 cabling that terminates onto the data patch has been terminated poorly. If you look closely, the twists on the data cable have not been maintained, which would reduce performance. Most of the performance issues occur at the termination. Even though NBN environments could deliver 100Mbps, in home data transfers from NAS to other devices could be severely limited. I have tested and fixed installs of this sort due to unqualified people installing this cable. Many installers including many electricians are installing this cabling and just using cheap LAN testers to test just for continuity (connectivity) and not checking performance which requires good test equipment such as a Fluke LAN Qualification analyser.

Note that this type of data cabling now requires an ACMA Registered Cabler with Structured cabling endorsement, a person who has has been trained and endorsed to possess and understanding about proper installation, termination to achieve best possible performance.

The photo above, illustrates equipment installed that doesn't appear to be Opticomm because there is no RF Over Fibre converter which would be part of the modem or a separate device that converts a wavelength of light signals from the fibre to analogue RF waveform that would be connected to the TV RF splitter/amplifier. The author is correct in stating that it is just free to air TV, but makes no mention that the TV signal is reticulated from the Fibre network.

James

15

If this "messy" installation provides 96Mbps speeds, I want a "messy" installation too!

This is actually one of the neater installs I've seen - it's in the garage, so I'm not sure why people seem so concerned that everything isn't located inside the one box?

Geoff

16

Comment #15
Sloppiness usually denotes a lack of professionalism.

True professionals would be proud of their work. The installer of this installation should be ashamed!

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