The NBN and things you should know
THIS IS A WIKI…ALL USERS CAN EDIT THE ENTRIES. PLEASE DO SO TO ADD, CORRECT AND/OR AMEND ENTRIES
I have put this together to try and provide as much information in one place about the NBN so that everyone can at least find most information without searching through many topics. I have divided it up into sections but in some cases there will be overlap. (This project is ongoing and there will be edits) Feel free to add information but please, if you wish to discuss an item or items please create a new topic and link to the issue/s.
DEFINITIONS & TERMS
The following list from A: to W: comes from the nbn TM Website. (E&OE).
Access Aggregation Region (AAR):
The area served by a Point of Interconnect (PoI) located in an Aggregation Node (AN) and connected via Trunk Fibre to regional Fibre Access Node (FAN) sites. The backhaul from the regional FAN to the AN is termed Transit Backhaul.
A generic term that refers to customers of NBN Co’s network, be they Retail Service Providers (RSPs) or Wholesale Service Providers (WSPs).
Aggregated Ethernet Bitstream (AEB)
One of two Layer 2 bitstream products to be offered by NBN Co (the other being LEB - Local Ethernet Bitstream). The AEB product enables aggregated access to one or more Fibre Serving Areas (FSAs) via an aggregated link. The LEB product will not be available in locations where the AEB product is made available.
Aggregation Node (AN):
A facility that provides a Point of Interconnect to RSPs/WSPs for an Access Aggregation Region (AAR), comprising a number of regional Fibre Access Node (FAN) sites. Note that an AN will also have a co-located Fibre Access Node (FAN) site for it’s local area.
Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL)
ADSL is a type of DSL broadband communications technology used for connecting to the Internet. ADSL allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines (POTS), when compared to traditional modem lines.
Asynchronous Transfer Mode (ATM)
ATM is a standardised digital data transmission technology.
Backhaul typically refers to the mid-to-long-distance transport of data from a series of disparate locations back to a more centralised location. This transport may involve some level of concentration (also referred to as aggregation).
Bandwidth refers to how fast data flows through the path that it travels to your computer. It is usually measured in kilobits, megabits or gigabits per second.
A generic term often used to describe low-complexity data transmission products.
Broadband is a term used to refer to ‘always on’ high speed Internet. In the past, broadband services and technologies were defined in terms of a capability to transfer information at higher rates than traditional dial-up services. Today broadband is more commonly associated with the speeds equal to or greater than those provided by Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), that is, a minimum download speed of 265 kbps and minimum upload speed of 64 kbps
Customer Premises Equipment (CPE)
The computer, modem and wiring at a customer’s premises.
The fibre between the Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH) and the Fibre Access Node (FAN), for both regional FANs and the metro FANs, as well as the connectivity between the non adjacent Fibre Serving Area Modules in the capital cities and the metro FANs. Distribution Fibre routes are designed in a ring structure to minimise the impact of any fibre break on consumer services as well as providing diverse paths for protected commercial point to point services.
Refers to the network of Distribution Fibres.
A download is any activity that transfers data to your computer from another one. Viewing a web page is downloading, because all the words, pictures and links on that page have to be transferred to your computer and contributes to any download limits placed on your account by your Internet service provider. Other activities like retrieving emails, listening to music, watching a video or chatting online are also downloads.
The fibre from the Network Access Point (NAP) to the termination point at individual premises.
DSL - Digital subscriber line
DSL is a group of technologies, the most common being asymmetric digital subscriber line (ADSL). DSL uses your existing telephone line to deliver high-speed Internet access. It allows voice communication and high-speed data transmission on the same line at the same time.
A common method of networking computers in a local area network (LAN) using a variety of forms of cabling. Ethernet supports retail service provider (RSP) service differentiation as a result of a ubiquitous interface. It facilitates competition and choice as is able to support multiple services and RSPs on the same physical interface, when necessary. It offers flexibility and substantial bandwidth. It supports security and grades of QoS.
Ethernet Aggregation Switch (EAS)
The equipment that provides aggregation of FSAs to an AN for each retail service provider (RSP) and wholesale service provider (WSP).
Ethernet Fanout Switch (EFS)
The equipment that provides port fanout/expansion between the Point of Interconnect (POI) and the Optical Line Terminal (OLT) for each retail service provider (RSP) and wholesale service provider (WSP).
Fibre Access Node (FAN)
A facility that houses the active equipment providing services to a Fibre Serving Area (FSA).
Fibre Distribution Area (FDA)
The area served via a single Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH) which connects addresses to the serving FAN site(s) via Local Fibre.
Fibre Distribution Hub (FDH)
A facility that houses the optical splitters.
Fibre Serving Area (FSA)
The area served by a Fibre Access Node (FAN) site, which will be a cluster of Fibre Distribution Area (FDA). The FDAs will be connected via Distribution Fibre.
Geocoded National Address File (GNAF)
The authoritative address index for Australia, produced by PSMA Australia Limited.
Gigabit Passive Optical Networking (GPON)
An optical-access system based on Internet Protocol (IP) that lets multiple homes or businesses in a neighbourhood share fibre from a service provider’s central office.
Refers to the addressing scheme for the Internet Protocol.
Internet Service Provider (ISP)
An organisation that offers access to the Internet to its customer.
Or delay refers to how much time it takes for data to get from one designated point to another.
Local Ethernet Bitstream (LEB)
One of two Layer 2 bitstream products to be offered by NBN Co (the other being AEB - Aggregated Ethernet Bitstream)
The connection between the Fibre Distribution Hubs (FDHs) and the individual premises via a series of radial fibre cables containing Network Access Points (NAPs), then a Drop Fibre to the building.
Multi Dwelling Unit (MDU)
Typically refers to blocks of flats, apartments etc.
Network Access Point (NAP)
The NAP is the point on a local fibre cable where the drop cable is connected.
Open Access Network (OAN)
The horizontally layered network architecture and business model that separates physical access to the network from service provisioning. The same OAN will be used by a number of different providers that share the investments and maintenance cost.
Open access networks can be used to deploy next-generation broadband networks in low population density areas where service providers cannot obtain a sufficient return on investment to cover the high costs associated with trenching, right-of-way encroachment permits, and the requisite network infrastructure. In contrast to traditional municipal networks where the municipality owns the network and there is only one service provider, the open access model allows multiple service providers to compete over the same network at wholesale prices. In theory, this allows service providers to make money in the short-term and the municipality or cooperative to recoup its costs over the long-term. The build-out and infrastructure is typically financed through low-cost bonds.
Optical Distribution Frame (ODF)
Refers to a patching frame for optical fibres.
Optical Line Terminal (OLT)
The terminal equipment to provide the Gigabit Passive Optical Network (GPON) signals to each of the Fibre Distribution Areas (FDAs).
Optical Network Terminal (ONT)
Refer to the NBN Co. termination point on each premises, for residential service providing (typically) 4 ethernet, 1 telephone and 1 co-axial ports.
Open System Interconnection (OSI) Reference Model
OSI Reference Model or OSI Model is an abstract description for layered communications and computer network protocol design. It divides network architecture into seven layers - Application, Presentation, Session, Transport, Network, Data-Link, and Physical Layers.
A layer is a collection of conceptually similar functions that provide services to the layer above it and receives service from the layer below it.
Optical Transport Platform (OTP)
The optical transmission equipment providing data transport between Fibre Access Node (FAN) sites.
Passive Optical Network (PON)
PON is a point-to-multipoint, fibre to the premises network architecture in which unpowered optical splitters utilizing Brewster’s angle principles are used to enable a single optical fibre to serve multiple premises, typically 32-128. A PON consists of an optical line terminal (OLT) at the service provider’s central office and a number of optical network units (ONUs) near end users. A PON configuration reduces the amount of fibre and central office equipment required compared with point to point architectures.
Plain Old Telephone Service (POTS)
POTS refers to the standard telephone service. In contrast, telephone services based on high-speed, digital communication lines are not POTS. The main distinctions between POTS and non-POTS services are speed and bandwidth. POTS is generally restricted to about 52 Kbps.
Point of Interconnect (PoI)
The connection point that allows retail service providers (RSPs) and wholesale service providers (WSPs) to connect to NBN Co access capability.
In contrast to Passive Optical Network (PON), the provision of services to a premises by a non-shared fibre from the Fibre Access Node (FAN).
Post Office Protocol (POP-1)
This refers to the way that email software gets mail from a mail server. Accounts with an ISP will always have a POP account to enable you to send and receive emails.
Point of Presence (POP-2)
This usually means a town or location where a network can be connected.
A formal description of message formats and the rules two computers must follow to exchange those messages. Protocols can describe low level details of machine to machine interfaces (e.g. the order in which bits are sent through a connection) or high level exchanges between programs (e.g. the way in which two programs transfer a file across the Internet).
Point to Point Protocol (PPP) is the most common protocol used to connect home computers to the Internet over standard telephone lines. Variations include Point to Point Protocol over ATM (PPPOA) and Point to Point Protocol over Ethernet (PPPOE ).
Quality of Service (QoS)
QoS refers to a wide range of networking technologies and techniques. The goal of QoS is to provide guarantees on the ability of a network to deliver predictable results. Network performance within the scope of QoS can include availability, bandwidth, latency and error rate.
Refers to the connection between Points of Interconnect (PoIs) in the Aggregation Nodes where the retail service providers connect to NBN, and the non-local FANs.
Universal Service Guarantee (USG)
The USO (see entry below) will in 2020 be replaced by the USG which will be the obligation that mandates the right to access for Voice and Broadband services for all Australians. Most of this obligation will be met through the NBN via it’s network. In very remote or difficult places this will likely be provided by Satellite which has difficulty in providing good voice services. Currently (2018) there is a review that includes public consultation being undertaken by the USO Taskforce. Some of the areas of review being looked at are:
"As part of this work, the Taskforce is examining the feasibility and cost implications of a number of key issues, including:
- Alternative means of providing voice services to premises in nbn’s satellite footprint, recognising that nbn satellites are designed for broadband and not voice services.
- The potential impact on nbn costs and network design if premises currently serviced by Telstra under the USO migrate to NBN infrastructure.
- Where and when it may be appropriate for Telstra to reduce the number of payphones provided under the USO."
Universal Service Obligation (USO)
This is the obligation that required Telstra to ensure standard telephone services (STS) and payphones were reasonably accessible to all people in Australia on an equitable basis, wherever they worked or lived. In 2020 it will finally be replaced with the USG (Universal Service Guarantee). In 2018 the USO is still in force but as premises are moved to the NBN and similar services the copper based infrastructure that provides the current Telstra based USO Voice service is being replaced by VOIP. Telstra are still obliged to provide Voice services under the USO but they can provide it by any means they deem suitable which includes Satellite connection (which the NBN Satellites are not really designed to provide).
From the Telstra page on this obligation ( )
"A USO STS includes the following features:
- Access to local, national and international calls
- Untimed local calls
- 24 hour free access to emergency service numbers
- Priority assistance (for those with a life threatening medical condition)
- Customer service Guarantee (acceptable connection and repair timeframes)
- A unique telephone number with or without a directory listing.
- Preselection (which allows the user to preselect another provider for long distance, fixed to mobile and international calls where the STS is provided over our copper network)
- Calling line identification
- Operator and directory assistance and,
- Itemised billing.
You can request that we provide a standard telephone handset on request for an additional cost. We also provide people with hearing, speech, vision, dexterity or mobility impairments with an alternative form of communication including equipment necessary to use this service. For more information see our disability products and services.
Our national pricing ensures that customers in remote areas pay the same price for an STS as our customers in cities. While this service has traditionally been provided as a fixed line telephone service, our obligation is technology neutral meaning we can choose the technology over which we provide you with this service. For example in some remote areas we provide customers with an STS over satellite."
Wave Division Multiplexing Passive Optical Network (WDM PON)
Refers to an emerging Passive Optical Network (PON) technology that will provide greater speed and capability.
Wholesale Service Provider (WSP)
See Retail Service Providers (RSPs)
The following are not from the nbnTM website but may have parts from it. The items are in no particular order:
Brownfields refers to established areas where the NBN is being rolled out.
Greenfields refers to new estates where fibre can be built alongside other utilities as the area is developed. Sky Muster Satellite connections are also all Greenfields
Optic Fibre & Fibre Core types: (From Datatel’s Website)
Fibre optic cable is made by injecting chemical vapours into a glass rod. This is then superheated until the vapours turn into glass themselves, which becomes the core of the fibre. This final glass rod, called a pre-form, is then stretched under heat to a 125 micron (µm) wide optic fibre, about the thickness of a human hair.
The resultant optic fibre comes in several different core types
OM1 62.5 micron multimode fibre OM3 50 micron multimode fibre OM4 50 micron multimode fibre OS1 9 micron singlemode fibre OS2 9 micron singlemode fibre
Each fibre type has different advantages and disadvantages, and while some of these fibre types are compatible with each other, most are not.
If you wish to read more about the NBN Fibre Network design there is a PDF of the NBN submission to the ACCC in 2011 that is very detailed and interesting (albeit technical).
Multimode Optical Fibre:
Multi-mode optical fibre is a type of optical fibre mostly used for communication over short distances, such as within a building or on a campus. Typical multi-mode links have data rates of 10 Mbit/s to 10 Gbit/s over link lengths of up to 600 meters (2000 feet). Multi-mode fibre has a fairly large core diameter that enables multiple light modes to be propagated and limits the maximum length of a transmission link because of modal dispersion.
Single Mode Optical Fibre:
A typical single-mode optical fibre has a core diameter between 8 and 10.5 µm and a cladding diameter of 125 µm. There are a number of special types of single-mode optical fibre which have been chemically or physically altered to give special properties, such as dispersion-shifted fibre and nonzero dispersion-shifted fibre. Data rates are limited by polarization mode dispersion and chromatic dispersion. As of 2005, data rates of up to 10 gigabits per second were possible at distances of over 80 km (50 mi) with commercially available transceivers (Xenpak). By using optical amplifiers and dispersion-compensating devices, state-of-the-art DWDM optical systems can span thousands of kilometers at 10 Gbit/s, and several hundred kilometers at 40 Gbit/s.
Node/s & Micro Nodes:
A node is an NBN connection point for up to 384 premises. Copper lines are typically connected across from nearby pillars or Telstra cable pits and they terminate on the Alcatel-Lucent module inside, which on this side is essentially a set of 384 VDSL modems. Basically, at this point the 384 copper lines are aggregated onto optical fibre and that goes back to the next point in the network. The node requires a power supply and also contains backup batteries. They are normally a green-grey sort of colour and 850mm wide x 1150mm high x 500mm deep with ventilation holes.
Picture of a Node
A Micro-Node can connect up to 100 FTTN connections. It can do the cross connect work internally, so it doesn’t need a pillar. It is usually used when you are too far from the node to make services work and there are no available pillars.
Picture of a Micro Node
Retail Service Provider (RSP):
These are the businesses that sell you the access to the internet via the NBN. Companies such as Telstra, TPG, Optus and many others are RSPs and some of these are also Wholesale Service Providers (WSPs) to smaller RSPs. The retail network service providers and application/content service providers are those that provide services to end users and have a direct customer relationship with the end users. Any that also or are WSPs do not have this consumer relationship in their role as a WSP.
Very-high-bit-rate Digital Subscriber Line. The latest technology protocol enabling broadband on copper wires. An evolution of ADSL2.
Refers to the “pipelines” we have to overseas (mostly undersea Optic Fibre cabling). There is also a Transit Network within Australia and the following comes from NBNCo:
“nbn uses the Transit Network to send our own data to the 121 POIs – including things like orders for new services – which should increase substantially as we move towards the planned 8 million connected homes and businesses by 2020. The nbn™ Transit Network also sends our data back to our two nbn data centres.
However, the Transit Network is also connected to our local Fibre Access Nodes (FANs), which carry traffic to end-user premises, meaning that nbn needs to make sure we are able to provide plenty of capacity to carry that traffic.”
The National Broadband Network Corporation (NBNCo):
This is currently a Government owned corporation that owns the National Broadband Network.
Multi Technology Mix National Broadband Network (MTM NBN):
Will be hereafter referred to NBN unless needed to explain a particular version eg Rudd’s NBN. This is the network that runs from your home to the RSP’s network
Current Speed Tiers available to domestic consumers are 12/1 Mbps, 25/5 Mbps, 50/20 Mbps & 100/40 Mbps. Not all types of NBN connection will have all speed tiers available to them. NBNCo can also supply a 1 Gbps connection but no RSP provides that plan to consumers and currently most types of connection cannot provide that speed.
Wherever a speed tier is referenced, eg 100/40 Mbps, this is referring to the maximum speed that tier (plan) can achieve but you may not achieve that speed on your connection even though you pay for it. The figure before the / indicates download speed the figure after indicates upload speed eg 12/1 Mbps means 12 Mbps download and 1 Mbps upload.
Bytes, Bits and speeds:
Bit is a single 1 or a 0 (zero). A lower-case b is used to show a bit is meant eg Kb (kilobit)
8 bits = 1 byte. An uppercase B is used to show a byte is meant eg KB (kilobyte)
Kilobit (Kb) = 1,000 bits
Kilobyte (KB) = 1,000 bytes = 8,000 bits
Megabit (Mb) = 1,000 Kb
Megabyte (MB) = 1,000 KB
Gigabit (Gb) = 1,000 Mb
Gigabyte (GB) = 1,000 MB
Terabit = 1,000 Gb
Terabyte = 1,000 GB
Kbps: Kilobits per second
KBps: Kilobytes per second
Mbps: Megabits per second
MBps: Megabytes per second
Gbps: Gigabits per second
GBps: Gigabytes per second
Tbps: Terabits per second
TBps: Terabytes per second
For most of this discussion when talking about speeds the multiples of bits per second will used eg Mbps (Megabits per second). To get bits from bytes multiply the number by 8 and similarly to get bytes from bits divide the number by 8 eg 1,000 bits/8 = 125 bytes and 125 bytes X 8 = 1,000 bits.
The above are the standard definitions used, there are however binary multiples but they generally will not be used in the other sections of this wiki but for the sake of thoroughness they are:
kibibit (Kibit) = 1024 bits = 128 bytes
mebibit (Mibit) = 1,048,576 bits = 1024 Kibits = 128 Kibytes
gibibit (Gibit) = 1,073,741,824 bits = 1,048,576 Kibits = 1,024 Mibits
tebibit (Tibit) = 1,099,511,627,776 bits = 1,073,741,824 Kibits = 1,048,576 Mibits = 1,024 Gibits
And they have binary multiples of bytes as well eg kibibyte (Kibyte) which is 1,024 bytes = 8 Kibits = 8,192 bits. When using the binary multiple full name, the first letter is lower case eg kibibit but when the short name is used the first letter is capitalized eg Kibit.
Voice over IP (VOIP):
Voice over Internet Protocol (also voice over IP, VoIP or IP telephony) is a methodology and group of technologies for the delivery of voice communications and multimedia sessions over Internet Protocol (IP) networks, such as the Internet. The terms Internet telephony, broadband telephony, and broadband phone service specifically refer to the provisioning of communications services (voice, fax, SMS, voice-messaging) over the public Internet, rather than via the public switched telephone network.
Providers other than NBN:
There are other providers of access to the internet other than NBN. For example TPG, DGtek, OPENetworks, and Vocus have Fibre Networks. Under the federal legislation any of these services need to be open access (they must allow any RSP access to their network), if their offered speed is 25 Mbps or greater (Super Fast) and they service more than 12,000 customers.
Below is from an article on CONNECTING THE AUSTRALIAN CHANNEL (https://www.crn.com.au/news/accc-sets-price-for-non-nbn-wholesale-broadband-access-446846)
The ACCC has set the price retail service providers would pay at $27 per port per month plus $15.25 per Mbps per month for aggregation for wholesale access. The regulated price will apply when an agreement cannot be reached between the network owner and the wholesale customer.
The pricing cap is being put in place so that retail broadband providers will face similar pricing whether they access superfast broadband via the NBN or from other network owners.
In July 2017, the ACCC regulated that TPG and Telstra must open up their high-speed broadband networks to retail service providers.
Smaller network owners have dodged the requirement to open up their infrastructure to wholesale customers. Network owners that support fewer than 12,000 end users, such as Clublinks, Frontier Networks, Pivit, Spirit and Comverge, are exempt from the standard access requirements.