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Why Is NBN Slow?

Have you just moved over from an ADSL or Cable internet service to NBN? Are your internet speeds slower than you expected or unstable? I will run through some of the common reasons we find will slow your NBN service and discuss some things you can do to make it faster.


There are 121 NBN Points of Interconnect (POIs). A POI is where the NBN connects to the wider internet. Australia has 121 of these points and resellers of NBN can sell their internet services on as many or as little of these points as they need. The providers then need to purchase network bandwidth – the Connectivity Virtual Circuit – for each POI. It depends on the number of customers an ISP has within each area, the amount of CVC they purchase can vary from POI to POI. The ISP’s try to find the right balance between how much CVC is purchased for each POI and how much they can on sell it to their customers. Sometimes not enough CVC is purchased, and this can affect the bandwidth available to you and other customers on that POI.

Check your POI here

Network Faults

Sometimes you may still experience network faults on a more fault-prone service such as Fibre to The Node (FTTN). FTTN services still use the existing copper cables in the network. It’s essentially the old Telstra network. This network has been in desperate need of rehabilitation for many years. FTTN can have line attenuation issues due to the signal traveling over a longer distance. Your internet speed will drop to almost 0 Mbps once you get roughly 6km from a node. The newer technologies such as Fibre to The Curb (FTTC) is something I think they will need to upgrade the current FTTN customers to at some stage. FTTC will bring a fibre cable right to the pit out the front of your home, then about 15 meters of copper to the Luca box on the side of your home. Find out more about faults in the network.

Peak Speed Times

Most of us know or at least suspect that your internet speed slows down at night-time. You don’t escape this happening even on an NBN service.  This time is the peak time of usage and your ISP essentially puts a governor on your speeds from around 7pm to 11pm. The ACCC has provided a rough guide of evening speeds that you may experience.  ACCC Broadband Speeds

Speed Tier       Max Speed   Evening Speed

Basic                    12Mbps       7Mbps

Standard             25Mbps       15Mbps

Standard Plus     50Mbps       30Mbps

Premium              100Mbps     60Mbps


Bridge Tap

The way your home was wired for the old phone line and ADSL service might not be doing you any justice these days. A home can be wired in two ways, series or in parallel.  A house wired in series will generally have two cables at each socket, this method of wiring is commonly called a daisy chain. If you have 4 sockets for instance, socket 1 has the network cable from the street, then another cable carrying the signal to socket 2. Socket 2 would have a cable coming from socket 1, and now another cable to take the signal off to socket 3, and this repeats in this daisy chain manner for all 4 sockets. If your NBN service is connected to socket 3 in a study, then you have a bridge tap between the main socket and your NBN modem, so the bridge tap is at socket 2. Sometimes removing all the other cables past the first socket and only having a single socket just connected to the ISP’s cable is the best way to go. A bridge tap can slow your speed down greatly. Want to get a bridge tap removed?

Lead-in Cable

Some NBN services will still be using the old copper lead-in cables that connect your home to the network via a pit or a pole in your street. Some of these cables are OLD. Especially in some of the older parts of Sydney, you may have direct buried lead Lead-in cables. This type of cable is almost 80 years old and is brittle and fragile. Most homes will have 2 pair copper cables. The older cables had a paper sleeve that wrapped around it before the top layer of insulation was applied. The older ones have been buried for up to 50 years and are slowly breaking down. The newer lead-in cables have a grease inside between the copper pairs to keep out moisture. The old paper cables would suck the moisture up and into the cable, which over time would cause faults on the service.  Find out more about lead-in cables.

Home Wiring

A common one we see a bit is faulty home wiring. Sometimes cables that may have had minor faults, that still allowed ADSL and ADSL2 to work fine might not be so forgiving to a FTTC or FTTN services. One of these problems is cheap cables that may have been used on an installation. We find a lot of DIY cable runs, where people have used leads run under a house, and the leads are sitting on a muddy surface which can erode the cable over time. Need a tech to check your home wiring?


In a building or a block of units you will have a main distribution frame (MDF) and possibly an intermediate distribution frame (IDF). The MDF is a connection point where the network cables and the internal cables of a building meet. NBN will install its own mini MDF inside your building, but the B side of the MDF will still have all cables going to each unit or office attached to it. Some of these MDF frames are old and need a soldered connection to joint the cables to the frame. You can experience several different faults in this kind of situation. Upgrading your MDF to something with disconnection modules will greatly decrees the likelihood of any slowing of your NBN speed through this point. Need an MDF Upgrade?

Faulty Sockets

Sometimes it can be a simple as a faulty socket. People who live close to saltwater will tend to have more troubles with corrosion, than people who live somewhere drier. Moisture is the enemy to your sockets. We find that sometimes if you have a damp under house environment this can sometimes creep up the between the brick and Gyproc and get into a socket and cause resistance and short circuits on your service.

Faulty Leads and Adaptors

Another common problem that can make your NBN slow is faulty leads and adaptors. If you are experiencing slow NBN speeds, do a visual check on the lead that runs between the socket and your NBN device. The copper pins or strips should be a shiny copper colour. If the copper looks black, blue, or corroded then it’s time to throw it out and get something new. Something as simple as a faulty lead can slow down your NBN internet service.

Weak WiFi

If you can stand next to your NBN modem router and get a fast speed and a strong signal, but when you move to other parts of the house or office the signal drops and the speed does along with it, you have WIFI issues. This can be solved in several ways. We have written a great article about 7 things you can do to improve your WIFI strength.


I hope you have found some useful information here. If you have any questions regarding our services or questions about your NBN service being slow, please call or message us and we will gladly try to help in anyway we can.  

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