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Yesterday we went live with the NBN. Here’s how it went.

By Gungahlin Al - 5 April 2013 87

Yesterday was the long-awaited connect to the National Broadband Network day. Yay!

After being involved for years in the community campaign to get Gungahlin’s parlous internet access upgraded, it was lovely to be able to see the end result.

We’ve been paying Telstra the same price as someone in Sydney pays for an ADSL2+ service running at 20Mbps, but getting only an 8Mbps service. Except what it really ran like was this (speedtest.net):

And that was at a good time, with low congestion.

Here’s the box that goes on the outside wall near the existing Telstra phone junction box. It’s much bigger than the phone line one because they need to wrap some spare fibre cable in there and it can’t be bent too tight—it is glass after all. I wanted the Telstra box removed but “laws” prevent them from removing this now redundant fixture… Le sigh…

And inside this cable is the actual fibre-optic “cable” that carries this incredibly fast bandwidth. What does this modern day miracle look like? This:

Yes—that’s it, nothing bigger than a human hair! To be handled with great care, because it could easily stick in you and break off, becoming extremely hard to dig out…

And this is what the internal NBN install looked like when finished. Top left is my modem/router/wireless unit relocated, then a fibre junction box, on the right is the power supply, including a battery backup so you can still call out in a blackout, and the bottom box is the Network Termination Unit—a box that converts the digital light signal into a digital electrical signal. So as you can guess, there’s a fair bit more in the way of “phantom” electricity consumption there, making us thankful for those solar panels on the roof and electricity bills that say “do not pay”.

CAT5 (blue) cable coming out of the NTU, into the router, and another out of the router, back into the wall and down to the garage to feed into a switch and patch panels that allow us to select which of the various data sockets around the house are live, depending on changing layouts and computer/TV/PVR/network drive/printer needs.

So the finished product is a bit ugly, but essentially tidy and stashed away behind stuff on the top shelf in the wardrobe, so no biggie. I’m showing you what’s involved though, so that you can plan for all the bits you have to include in your own install. This is not something you want on your loungeroom wall! And it’s a good idea to schedule a sparky for the same day to sort the home-side connection.

I’m yet to sort out the conversion of the voice landline to VOIP, but it’s been ordered, and will probably mean we have a phone base station plugged into the router too. But the old landline is history!

Oh—and what happened with the speed? This:

Yes that’s a big grin you can hear! Websites now snap onto the screen, scrolling through my Flickr photostream involves a couple of seconds per high resolution photo. Podcasts download in no time, even mobile devices using the wireless are responding snappily. No doubt we’ll get a better idea over time, but so far, so wonderful!

I can only hope now that the NBN roll-out continues, and the rest of Canberra and indeed Australia get to experience what really fast internet access is like. Meanwhile, if your area comes online, get in and get it—while the connection is free. Because later it will cost you to get the connection done. Ditto if you are a landlord—do it while it’s free.

There are more details about the install on my blog if you are interested.

What’s Your opinion?


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87 Responses to
Yesterday we went live with the NBN. Here’s how it went.
arescarti42 6:41 pm 05 Apr 13

Interesting setup Al. I’ve got Transact FTTH and it is similar, but I don’t have a fibre junction box and the power supply/battery backup is considerably smaller.

My fibre line also terminates in a box in the garage, which is where the PSU and NTU is located.

Interestingly you also seem to be getting a bit better download speeds than me (I consistently get about 80-85mbit/s).

Martlark 6:39 pm 05 Apr 13

If it’s so great then why not just pay for it by the people who want it? Why is the Government spending billions of public funds on what is mostly an entertainment system?

Pork Hunt 6:10 pm 05 Apr 13

Nice work Al.

c_c™ 5:35 pm 05 Apr 13

Mysteryman said :

Great write up. Thanks for taking the time!

That speed is very impressive. I currently get about 7 – 7.5Mbps on an unlimited download ADSL1 plan. I like the idea of being able to get the sort of speed you get on the NBN, but the costs seems a bit prohibitive at the moment, especially considering the plans all seem to have data limits.

This really annoys me.

You’re getting 7.5mb/s now.

Upgrade to an NBN 12/1 plan at 59.95/mth. Faster net, no line rental 100gb+100gb bandwidth.

Now really boost the speed, 25/5 at $64/mth.

Now compare that a cheap ‘unlimited’ ADSL 2+ plan where you’ll habe little chance of even reaching the minimum NBN speed. $59.95/mth.

I’m willing to bet for the majority of users, the NBN offers a better option with little or no extra cost.
Not sure many users would need more than 200GB a month, and you pay no extra for a heap of extra speed.

thatsnotme 5:26 pm 05 Apr 13

Very jealous!

So how much say did you have in where the internal stuff was located? I realise you said you’ve got it tucked away in a cupboard – would it have mattered where in the house that cupboard was? Where there limits to where inside you could choose to have it located?

dungfungus 5:18 pm 05 Apr 13

If you are with Telstra forget connecting VOIP. Telstra are not in the business of providing free phone calls.

caf 4:45 pm 05 Apr 13

Which NBN provider are you with?

kittywitty 4:43 pm 05 Apr 13

Oh and my average speed is 4Mbps……lame!

I’m so jealous now 🙁

kittywitty 4:41 pm 05 Apr 13

Solidarity said :

Cool.

But to be honest, i’d be over the moon with 6mbps compared to what I get now!

Me too, I pay through the nose because the I live in the centre of Tuggeranong, but the exchange for my suburb is classified as regional!! (go figure) Yet most of the suburbs over are on different exchanges that are classified as metro and as such get a much better deal…suckworthy!

Comic_and_Gamer_Nerd 4:36 pm 05 Apr 13

So jelly. Duffy supposedly won’t get it for 3 more years(if at all if the halfwit non science believer monk gets in in the upcoming election).

Al those speeds are great.

Chop71 4:32 pm 05 Apr 13

Great write up Alan, well done.

Just a quick question as to your box on the wall, set up and service.
What was the price? monthly fee? etc

gungsuperstar 4:22 pm 05 Apr 13

Yeah, the amount of crap on your wall is definitely a big surprise to me.

But with that said, I can’t wait to get it to upgrade from the 3.3 mb/s downloads I get from Telstra ADSL 2+…

Roundhead89 4:11 pm 05 Apr 13

WTF? You have to have all that crap on the wall? And here I was thinking you just needed a small socket under the desk like you always have had for phones and Net up till now.

Solidarity 4:05 pm 05 Apr 13

Cool.

But to be honest, i’d be over the moon with 6mbps compared to what I get now!

Mysteryman 3:50 pm 05 Apr 13

Great write up. Thanks for taking the time!

That speed is very impressive. I currently get about 7 – 7.5Mbps on an unlimited download ADSL1 plan. I like the idea of being able to get the sort of speed you get on the NBN, but the costs seems a bit prohibitive at the moment, especially considering the plans all seem to have data limits.

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