NBN questions - When should I sign up? Cost to roll ethernet around the home?

The NBN is being rolled along my street finally (in fact, I wish it were delayed another three months or so and I had a hope of FTTP).

Now that I’m expecting floods of offers from RSPs who want me to connect through them, I would be interested to learn what others have experienced in signing up. Should I grab a decent offer early, or are they likely to improve the offers as the sign-up period ticks away? While I am generally an early technology adopter, I have seen plenty of horror stories on the NBN so am happy to wait for a better deal.

My second question is about how to make the most of a faster Internet. My home has three bedrooms, is a stand-alone, and I would like to get wired connections to four or five rooms. Has anyone hired a cabler to do this kind of work? What kind of cost is involved in wiring the home for tomorrow - roughly?


I have recently done this myself with three connections in three rooms. If you are willing and capable, it is very cheap to do and not terribly hard.

I used Cat 6 cable and generic Cat 6 RJ45 from Jaycar. Total cost for about 25 metres of cable and connectors about $100 and took half a day. Punchdown tools needed for wire docking into the RJ45 can be bought online for about $10.


Willing? Sure. Capable? My wife keeps me away from kitchen knives because I once needed stitches after using a bread knife to get at some ice cream.

Based on your half day/$100, unless you are already a professional cabler I would say two hours of labour + $200, or around $400 for three rooms. Sound approximately right?


Nope…just a youtube enthusiast and ability to learn.


It is not all just cost - they all seem within $10 pcm (for any speed) of each other once the sweeteners are considered. I went with Aussiebroadband and just got connected this afternoon.

Do a search on the RSP’s coupons. I found one for $20 off pcm for 6 months, better than most I have seen for AussieBB.

I’ll post more details in NBN HFC Service Connection Delays and Performance once the landline is ported rather than dribble my experience, but so far it has been on schedule, no worries, no drama, HFC, and while the NBN installer realised I knew more about how it worked behind the curtains than he did, he was really good with his part and made sure I was comfortable with ‘mine’.

The AussieBB phone and chat support has been impeccable.


Deals have been pretty stable in the last few months. The horror stories usually revolve around things like what kind of NBN you’ll have. HFC? FTTN? FTTP? I have FTTN and its been fine, with none of the problems others are having. I’m on a dead cheap plan (but not as cheap as some), having signed up for 25/5 and later being migrated to 50/20 for the same price. I’m also close to the node and pillar which make a huge difference.

You’ll find even with the same provider and on the same plan, it will depend on what kind of NBN service you have, and if its FTTN, how close you are to the NBN hardware on the street.


I suspect it is a lot like how long is a piece of string.

I was fortunate that I could get under the house to do the cabling and able to easily run the cable up the wall cavity. I suspect that in a brick house on a slab or a house where access is more challenging, the time and costs could be more.

Maybe get three quotes and see what they recommend in relation to the cable placement (within walls, in conduit on the external wall, behind the skirting board, office style whete conduit placed on top of skirting boards etc). I suspect running an external wall/skirting board conduit (external wall conduit has been installed on a house in our street) is the cheapest and easiest to install option for the cabling contractor , but may not be the most discrete one.

If one lives in a heritage residence or multi-unit complex, check to see if there are and restrictions to the placement of conduits, especially on external walls.


We had a licensed cabler do some work recently. I don’t have an hourly rate, the job was quoted lump sum including materials. I gather from asking him the same questions you are it could cost up to $1,200 for a full day with off-sider. Their materials cost trade in bulk are significantly less than J-car etc. I was looking at cabling from our ADSL modem to our wifi range extender and smart TV. Under floor a couple of hours work, but as the NBN will be wireless or satellite if it ever comes the modem might be better elsewhere.

For most houses the hint was it might only need half a day. It depends on access under floor or in roof and how and where you would like the outlets. If you are happy to have exposed conduit on each wall it may help speed things up.

Two extra points to consider.

You may be aware many devices including tablets and laptops now do not have Ethernet ports and rely on wifi.

There are a number of discussions on the whirlpool forums that home cabling requires a licensed install. I won’t offer an informed opinion. There are a number of compliance requirements relating mainly to separation and identification intended to ensure that there is no risk of mains power inadvertently appearing on your communications cabling. Same applies to TV aerial cables.

Most electrical contractors can also do the work, except they come with an additional skill set and will cost even more?

We have also been watching the NBN offers for the past year (that’s how long HFC was externally cabled for) to our other home which can only now connect to the NBN. The only point we noted is that many of the ISP’s sorry they now call them RSP’s have dropped their lower cost 25Mb plans. It’s 12Mbps with limited data or jump up to 50Mbps. Month to month Aussie Broadband which @PhilT mentioned, has caught our attention as one of the few that offer a 25Mbps plan, 100MB data month to month with byo router and full VOIP support without needing to use the RSP supplied modem/router. They were very good over the phone too!


Yes and no. Apparently some VOIP functionality from some RSPs is controlled via their web site, and some like ABB is controlled by functions in the modem! Not all modems (including my DVA-2800) have those ‘advanced features’. I may be premature, but from a whirlpool 2017 thread ABB did not then have website controls for their VOIP and everything required calling support to set or change if you did not have their kit, and some things even if you did have their kit.

The good news is that they apparently get it done, but it is not always as easy as it should be. One example is the DVA-2800 has VOIP defaults for many RSPs for their configurations. ABB is not among them. Back to yes and no.


Is there a particular reason to not go wireless? No need to drill holes or pull cable.

The ease of pulling cable depends on several things such as whether you are going under floor or in ceiling. Some wall frames make it really hard to get up (or down) through the noggins or head plates as there may be no holes or it may be very hard to get through them. Solid walls (brick or block) can be hard to deal with especially if you don’t want to chase them or have surface mounted junction boxes or channels.

Another consideration is that many routers only have 4 ports for local devices, if you include printers etc you could need several more if going all wired which could cost more.

Depending on your situation I can see this could cost much more than a few hundred dollars.


It. It is a good point to raise.
Worthy of a topic on it’s own if nor already covered in another community topic?

There are numerous reasons to consider going to a part or fully cabled home network. Greater speed/capacity, lower latency, reliability, less interference and greater service distance to suggest a few.

We’ve used wireless networking in four different houses, with and without range extenders (wireless and over power). It suffices most of the time for everyday internet and old school Netflix at HD standard. It is not much use for large data backups or file transfers. Use a portable HD instead. Usable range in house 5-10m depending on walls, (11n on 2.4 or 5GHz) before you need a range extender or long blue/red cable down the hall way!

P.s. the 4 port limit on most residential routers is easily overcome with an Ethernet unmanaged switch. 4 and 8 ports commonly available for as little as $20. A $29 gigabit switch from Officeworks.

The fifth port connects to the your modem router leaving four usable. The switch can be next to the router or a whole house away at the end of an Ethernet cable.

I have also experienced less connection issues with devices and printers or smart TVs on cabled connections direct to the main router than using wifi.


The reason for wiring is that it’s faster and more reliable. It is also better when there are walls between access points.

While I don’t want to wire every room, if I want to wire one or two I think there are some obvious places to go that will provide a selling point if we ever sell.

We currently use WiFi throughout the house, and my wife has intermittent issues (the connection sits beside me in the study). We tried a WiFi extender, but that did not resolve her problems. I anticipate her wanting to stream movies on the big screen, and WiFi can struggle with that - especially if you’re doing more than one thing at once.

As for how to wire, it would be roof/walls - we are on a slab. The walls have plenty of cavity, though - and it’s easy enough to get into the roof (again, I am not allowed up there because of my natural ability to injure myself).


If you choose to cable check what is being offered. Cat 6 spec cable would seem most appropriate, more future proof.


I feel this is possibly outside the scope of the current discussion. On balance, there are many wives who might suggest the same for their husband. Your mileage may vary, contents may settle on shipping, etc etc … sorry, couldn’t resist :wink:

Seems I’m in the wrong business - I’m a licenced cabler, but “I also cook” as Seagal once said … I’ve often recommended people to throw in a cat-5 from their network boundary to a point where their router and any hardwire required devices can live and run everything else on wifi, unless there are significant local network loads (nas etc). Sometimes, rarely in fact, more is needed … External conduit is so often the calling card of cowboys - sometimes it is required - ask. Get a few quotes. When it comes to ACMA cabling, there are plenty of clowns and muppets willing to take you for a complete ride …


Handy to know. Do you charge for mileage?

Supply and demand varies around the nation. We may have a supply issue, or a silent nod between the local businesses concerning rates. Any one from out of town needs to add up to two hours travel to their cost recovery? After multiple quotes for work it is common to wait up to 4 weeks for the job to be done. Plumbers may be the one exception, but only if you have some spare gold bullion for the bill.

P.s. my most recent quote for electrical work in BisVegas was received based on a $90ph plus call out fee, even if booked in advance!

As you suggest a home wireless network can be quite suitable for many users. My nearest neighbour is an good 100m distant. Wifi with cabled range extender is enough! For BisVegas there are typically 20 plus wireless networks in range of our two story one being a large apartment complex 7m away, plus several small business networks. 11n on 5Ghz was for a while the answer. We will cable between the two floors when we switch over to the NBN. The wireless signal does not like penetrating the floor. The fetch also has needed to be cabled or invisibly bridged to the modem, unless the latest version has been updated?


No. I’ve never done cabling as a contractor - got my licence around 25 years ago and maintained it because it was relevant to my job, and handy to do my own personal stuff.

I don’t know how any customer makes sense of it all - free quotes are never free, travel time is always factored in somehow, fixed price vs per hour is really only screw me up front or screw me ongoing … I’d like to think that was a cynical view, as I am rather cynical, but I think its more the norm … that, and a substandard result. I guess it is hard to do a good job when one is riding past on a horse while whirling a lariat … :wink:

Another thing I tend to go for, if you need one outlet, pull in two. If you need two, pull in four. If you need four or more perhaps look at distribution switches/etc - but either way the cost of labour is the big thing - cable and wall plates are (should be) cheap … and while my old stock of cat3 and cat4 is a bit long in the tooth, cat5/5e is probably sufficient for most ma and pa kettle installs, cat6 if you think you might run some really good kit at some stage, 6a if you are really flush, but don’t bother with 7 or 8 :rofl: and if someone offers you 6e, laugh at them … If you use a contractor, make sure they run and terminate the cable to spec, respecting twist preservation and bend radius particularly.


Cat 5E is likely to more than enough for a home. Cat 6 is more for business type networks under high traffic loads.

I would have used cat 5E, but at the time the cost was about the same and could only get enough cat6 RJ45s (there weren’t enough cat5e in stock and couldn’t be bothered waiting for more stock to come in)…only difference was the cable was about $0.05 per metre more or about $1.25 for the cable I installed.

Cat6 and cat5e male connectors and RJ45 are the same…interchangeable with tbe lower rating the limiting factor.


A quality cat 5 might work just fine at 1000mbps, possibly length dependent, but even if it doesn’t what is the ramification in a practical sense save for those expecting the NBN to be ‘fixed’ should go with the best available as a potential future-proofed selling point for their home.

Nothing going ‘outside’ is transmitting faster than the internet plan and with our globally top (guffaw) NBN options topping at 100mbps, and the vast majority of us at 50 or less, does it matter unless we have time or bandwidth sensitive in-house networking requirements? What might those be for the technically inclined among us? Network storage and video servers with multiple client displays for some, or non-internet multi-device/user competitive games? But for most I suggest the topic is a non-bandwidth limited mind game in a practical sense.

Regardless, an interesting discussion.


The only devices that regularly connect to our Wi-Fi are our mobile phones, one tablet, and one e-book reader.
We have Cat 6 installed between the room (1) where the modem/router lives, our lounge room (2) and one other room (3). There is a gigabit switch in each of (1) and (2). All up cost to have the cabling run under the house, plus the two switches was less than $600.
Our home is double brick with relatively easy access below. ( with NBN HFC scheduled to be available this month )


I too have NBN coming past my home finally and since that happened ADSL has been playing big time and according to my telco this always happens.
Been nagged by them to change to NBN but I said not yet need to investigate plans as some dont have free phone calls but want you to pay the same cost for the plan and pay as you go for calls, so be careful who yo using up with if you want to keep your landline.
The did send my a new modem because they told me the old modem was playing up still waiting for bill to see if I got charged as they said I wouldn’t.
I will have terrible trouble if I connect though my connection will be HFC so will think carefully which way to go as I prefer to have a landline phone rather than use mobile phones.