Switched from ADSL or Cable to NBN and finding the speeds aren’t living up to the hype? If your NBN connection feels slower than expected or suffers from instability, you’re not alone. Let’s delve into some common factors that could be affecting your NBN performance and explore ways to get your speeds up to scratch.
Understanding POIs and CVC
To get a grip on what could be slowing down your NBN, it helps to know a bit about the infrastructure. In Australia, there are 121 Points of Interconnect (POIs), which serve as junctions where the NBN network links to the broader internet. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) can offer their services at any number of these POIs.
Then comes the Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC), a crucial but often misunderstood term. Simply put, CVC is the amount of network bandwidth that ISPs purchase for each POI. This bandwidth determines how much data can flow through the network at any given time.
Balancing Act: Customer Numbers and CVC
ISPs try to gauge the number of customers they will have in each POI area and purchase an appropriate amount of CVC accordingly. It’s a balancing act: too little CVC and the network gets congested, affecting your internet speed. On the flip side, buying too much CVC could drive up costs for ISPs, which could then be passed on to you, the customer.
The Consequence: Your Internet Speed
If your ISP skimps on purchasing enough CVC for your area, you and other customers sharing that POI may experience slower internet speeds, especially during peak hours when many people are online.
What Can You Do?
- Check with your ISP to see if the slow speeds are due to low CVC allocation in your area.
- Consider switching to a provider that guarantees higher CVC allocation.
- Contact professionals, like us at SECURE A COM, to diagnose if the slow speed is due to an issue in your private cabling or setup.
Network Faults and How to Improve Your Internet Speed
Experiencing issues with your network can be frustrating, especially when you’re not sure what’s causing them. Whether you’re dealing with slow speeds during peak hours or grappling with older, fault-prone services like Fibre to the Node (FTTN), understanding the root cause is essential for finding a solution. Let’s break down some common network problems and how you can address them.
The Challenge of FTTN Services
Fibre to the Node, or FTTN, still relies on old copper cables, essentially inheriting the issues of the previous Telstra network. This aging infrastructure has been in dire need of an update for years. The key problem with FTTN is line attenuation, which is the weakening of the internet signal as it travels over longer distances. Once you’re about 6km away from a node, your internet speed can plummet to nearly zero.
The Future: Fibre to the Curb (FTTC)
A more modern solution, FTTC brings a fibre cable right up to the pit in front of your home, with just a short stretch of copper cabling to the Luca box on your property. This technology reduces many of the issues associated with FTTN and could be the next step for current FTTN customers.
Speed Drops During Peak Hours
You’re not imagining things: your internet does slow down in the evenings. ISPs enforce these speed limitations to manage network congestion during peak usage hours, generally from 7pm to 11pm. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) provides a rough guide on what speeds you might expect during these times:
- Basic: Max Speed 12Mbps, Evening Speed 7Mbps
- Standard: Max Speed 25Mbps, Evening Speed 15Mbps
- Standard Plus: Max Speed 50Mbps, Evening Speed 30Mbps
- Premium: Max Speed 100Mbps, Evening Speed 60Mbps
The Bridge Tap Issue
Your home’s wiring could be another factor affecting your internet speed. Homes can be wired in series (commonly known as a “daisy chain”) or in parallel. In a daisy chain, a bridge tap could exist between your main socket and the modem, significantly slowing down your connection. Removing extra sockets and cables, leaving only a single socket connected to the ISP’s cable, can often improve speeds considerably.
- If you’re on an FTTN service, consider lobbying for an upgrade to FTTC.
- Monitor your internet speed during different times of the day to identify peak-hour slowdowns.
- Investigate your home’s wiring to check for a bridge tap. If found, it might be best to have it removed by professionals like us.
The first thing to understand about your NBN service is the lead-in cable. This cable connects your home to the broader network via a pit or a pole on your street. If you’re in an older part of Sydney, there’s a good chance you might have lead-in cables that are decades old and directly buried underground. These older cables are often brittle and fragile, wrapped in a paper sleeve that tends to absorb moisture over time, leading to service faults. Modern cables, on the other hand, contain grease between the copper pairs to prevent moisture ingress. So, if you’re facing issues with your connection, the lead-in cable might be the culprit.
Home wiring is another common issue we encounter. Sometimes, existing cables that worked perfectly fine for older technologies like ADSL may not be up to the mark for newer services such as FTTC or FTTN. We’ve seen plenty of DIY wiring jobs where cables have been laid across damp or muddy surfaces, leading to gradual erosion and service issues.
MDF and IDF Explained
In multi-unit buildings or offices, you’ll typically find a Main Distribution Frame (MDF) and possibly an Intermediate Distribution Frame (IDF). The MDF is essentially the junction where the network cables meet the internal cables of a building. While NBN will have its own mini MDF, the older MDFs can often be outdated and may require soldering to connect cables. Modernising your MDF setup can significantly improve your NBN speed and reliability.
The Issue of Faulty Sockets
Sometimes, it’s as straightforward as a faulty socket causing problems. Particularly in areas close to saltwater, corrosion becomes a major issue. Even if your home isn’t damp, the moisture from your surroundings can seep into sockets, causing electrical resistance and short circuits.
Faulty Leads and Adaptors
A lesser-known cause of slow NBN speeds is faulty leads and adaptors. A visual check can quickly reveal the condition of the copper pins or strips; if they appear corroded or discoloured, it’s time to replace them. Even a small issue like this can have a significant impact on your internet speed.
Weak WiFi Signals
WiFi signal strength can be inconsistent across different areas of your home or office. If your signal is strong near the modem but weakens as you move away, you likely have a WiFi issue. Multiple solutions can enhance your WiFi experience, from changing the position of your router to upgrading your hardware.
If any of these issues resonate with you or you have other questions about your NBN service, don’t hesitate to reach out. Our team is here to provide the reliable solutions you need. We hope this information has been helpful, and we’re always here to assist you further. Find out about our Internet Technician Service.
Head Internet Technician
Jason Kearney is the Head Technician at SECURE A COM, with qualifications spanning NBN, ADSL, phone, and data cabling. Starting as an electrician, Jason quickly delved into the telecommunications sector, leading crucial projects like the rehabilitation of the Telstra network. With credentials in both managerial and technical aspects, he now specialises in phone line and NBN fault location and repair, serving both homes and businesses with effective and personalised telecommunications solutions