With NBN, distance from node determines speed

Interesting article in the Australian 29 March page 3.Previously the paper had published case studies of NBN complaints of slow speed. NBN checked the complaints and responded that all the cases were fibre-to-the -node and that the maximum speed that can be obtained on that system is 25Mbps, and that the further from the node the connection was, the slower the speed would be. Telstra is selling people on FtN systems 100Mbs packages and they can never deliver this - hence the complaints. It would have helped a lot of customers if these facts had been clearly advertised at the beginning of the run out of the NBN FtN system. Can this information be loudly broadcast somewhere, somehow?


Thanks for the heads up @val2, I’ll pass on this info to our content team. If anyone has any other thoughts or comments please add them below.

From the NBN website - “Not all speeds greater than nbn™ 25 are available at all premises.”

If anyone finds their NBN ISP is happy to sell them “up to 100 mbps” service on an FTTN that is technological incapable of running above 25 please post it here for Choice, report it to the ACCC, ACMA, and complain to your MP.

Most of us are destined to have what I deem as a near-3rd world communication system and at this point we cannot change that, but we can avoid being done over by unscrupulous companies selling and charging for the impossible and undeliverable.


Some time ago there was a topic about internet speeds on this site[quote=“grahroll, post:25, topic:4131”]
I may also add these speeds are about what you will get with FTTN (Fibre to the Node) and so you may find no extra benefit from FTTN when it comes to your area.

However the current top speed achievable on FTTN is actually the 100/40 Mbps but this is somewhat rare due to a number of factors including your distance from the node, state of the copper wire from the node to your premises, quality of connections, and water and other contaminants in the pits between your premises and the node. Your upload speed can/should be a bit better than the ADSL2 upload speeds even in the situation of only getting 25/5 Mbps. On whirlpool there is a bit of a discussion about Max speed on FTTN http://forums.whirlpool.net.au/archive/2566944. Of course some RSPs (Retail Service Providers) are only selling 25/5 Mbps on the FTTN networks rather than have complaints that the end users are not getting the 100/40 they paid for (many would get a speed somewhere 1/2 way between 25/5 and 100/40 if they were paying for the higher tier).

There are some emerging technologies that will allow FTTN to achieve much higher speeds. But I think we will see NBN Co pulling the copper out sooner rather than later once they have completed the full NBN provisioning (sometime around 2020), this will of course increase the cost way above what FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) would have cost us.


I suspect that is going to be after we have a change of government and the new one decides it can withstand the inevitable partisan points scoring criticisms of “cost overruns” from the newly anointed opposition of the day. The current government has already “blown the budget” for its 3rd rate outcome and is not going to allow more costs under its watch, while claiming more users and income as people are forced onto it.


+1. 25Mbps is not the max speed on FttN. I’m on FttN and I (luckily) connect at over 100Mbps (105Mbps).

As I understand it, congestion is the biggest issue with NBN at the moment. Congestion = not enough bandwidth for everyone in your area i.e. effective speed is lower because there’s not enough to go around.

The quality of the copper and the length of it from the node can affect the overall speed of the connection. I am soon to get FttN and have been looking at many ISP’s and I notice that several only offer 12/1 until your connected and then they can check the speed/quality.

At work we have Fixed Wireless NBN and that consistently provides better than 30 down and 15 up - on a good day 45/18.

I would like to get 50MB at home when it comes but would be happy with a constant 25.

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We’re about 450 metres from our node and synch at 48 Mbits down, 18 Mbits up. Our FTTN service has been very stable since going live in July last year. We have a 50/20 plan so it is very close to what we’re paying for.

… and remember they are talking sync rate - the rate the modem actually negotiates with the node after it has juggled as many tones into as many bins as it can, then yells “Showtime” (yes, it really does - well not yell as such, but showtime yes …). The raw payload transfer rate you can get from your content provider at a higher layer will never be this good. As a side note, if you have access to your line profile (on a Cisco for example you can display your DMT Bits per Bin) you can map it and work out whether your line has permanent or interference caused dead zones in the spectrum used by xDSL … I can tell a story about a neighbours television and HF interference that caused 5 xDSL services to go spare like clockwork based on the wake time of two primary school kids …)

FWIW - I see “DownStream Connection Speed 54999 kbps UpStream Connection Speed 22600 kbps” here at the moment. I know others around the 100 mark on their services …

BrendanMays, There is some NBN FTTN (and other connection types) Speed information bound up in maps at the site
Drag the map to centre it of the premisesyou want to investigate, then magnify until you can see the street you want. Identify your location of interest and click on the dot. That will reveal both the cable route to the connected Node, and also a box of information relating to that house. Including estimated cable distance to the Node, the name of the Node (“ESA Distribution Area”), and projected maximum download and upload speeds.

As you move from house to house towards the Node, you’ll see the projected speeds increase in a precisely calculated manner.

I deduce that this is a map based on theory. Bad, pittted copper cables with poor insulation will deliver lower maximum speeds.

Some charts for Daly Street, Bilgola Plateau:

  1. showing the street area:

  2. after clicking on the house of interest:

  3. after blowing away the house-related box:

  4. The colour codes used for different speed ranges:

With best wishes,

… Peter Watt


Thanks @peterjvwatt, much appreciated :wink:

Nor did I say it was Max speed, I said max speed on FTTN was 100/40 but it is rare to achieve and if you get those speeds that is great. You are more likely to achieve somewhere between 25 and 50 Mbps down. This is due to a number of issues that I pointed to above including the state of the copper wire from your premises to the node, distance from the node, and the state of connections in the copper from your premises to the house. These impacts are acknowledged by most RSPs and why many are now only trying to sell 25/5 FTTN packages particularly as the ACCC has signalled that if you sell a 100/40 package you better be delivering it. When some of the newer technologies are employed FTTN may be able to achieve a maximum of around 300 Mbps.

From an article on the difference between FTTP and FTTN:

"While FTTP is essentially unaffected by distance, the same cannot be said for FTTN. For that system, the achievable speed is all about distance. Take a look at this graphic, showing the speed dropoff of various DSL technologies over distance:

The above speeds for VDSL2 assume 2 pairs of copper wire (known as bonding), which most homes in Australia don’t have and VDSL1 speeds are over coaxial cable. They should be (approximately) halved for a single copper pair. Therefore:

• At 100m, FTTN could deliver about 100Mbps

• At 500m, that drops to about 50Mbps

• At 1km, it drops to about 25Mbps

Remembering that the distance is the actual copper length (not as the crow flies), a typical FTTN system would deliver maximum speeds of less than 25Mbps, which is in line with the NZ experience of 13Mbps average."

Congestion has an overall effect on speeds regardless of what you are on, be it FTTP, FTTN, FTTB, HTC, Satellite and so on due to the RSP purchase of CVC. The larger RSPs shift their allocations around to lessen some of this impact but there are certainly times of the day or week that most users of an RSP will suffer slow speeds.


Yeah, I didn’t say you said it was the max, I was supporting your comment, hence the “+1”.


Np my mis-read of your comment but still allowed me to re-check my info :slight_smile:

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I have a tier2 service on FTTN with Telstra and physical connection speeds are 28Mb down, 6.4Mb up and these figures are rock solid. It may help that the wiring is less than 1 year old. Selecting the NBM MTM Alpha map that is identified above, my house and all of the surrounding houses are grey dots, clicking says yet to be determined, although several of these houses have FTTN installed. At peak periods the achievable download speeds can be considerably less, although upload seems consistent at just below 5Mb. I would expect most of the load would be download streaming, with only the acknowledgement packets and some voip going up, so it is the aggregate download bandwidth available on the supply side of the node that is determining the rates, as I don’t think our node is heavily loaded yet.

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!9th of April
Mix of Analog & Digital in … Crescent means that NBN Co can not provide Super Fast Speed Boost for another 18 months. Putting all NBN providers such as Telstra into effectively false advertising for this area.
So stuck with 50Mbps Down & 20Mbps up for a year & a half.

20th of April
Researched this, it seems that NBN Co is concerned about potential crosstalk from superfast speedboost digital copper onto ADSL copper within the same node post. So it seems that many NBN transition are at max 25 down 5 up !! So they throttle the digital with a sort of jumper until the whole node is digital. I have been told that that may take the full 18 months from when … was NBN enabled. However a NBN Co chartered I have seen seems to suggest May this year…

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I live 3.3 km from the local exchange and currently have an ADSL service.
The maximum speed I’ve ever had was 3.3Mega Bits/second. Most of the time, I’m lucky to get 2.8 Mb/s download. This is due to distance. If I was within 1.6 km of the node, I’d get something a bit better than that.

The copper is over 45 years old and poor work practices by Telstra contractors contributed to multiple problems over the years because of corroded joins, water leakage into lead cable and non-soldered connections in street pillars.

I am about to move and will be 1 km from a Telstra Exchange. Hopefully this will give me good or better download speeds.


Hello, @BrendanMays.
I’ve visited that site quite a few times. It was only today that I followed one of the links …

which gives a clue as to how the FTTN speeds over Telstra cable distances might have been derived. I send you this message in case you, too, had not seen the graph.

… Peter Watt


Time to bribe the neighbours?

“Over-subscription” is the term. They sell more service bandwidth than is available at peak time.