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.