When: Monday 27th March
Where: Junction 2
We'll have speakers from the local broadband industry including Our Community Broadband and WaveLength Technologies to answer any questions.
The Facts about NBN.
- NBN rollout is Noosa Junction is underway with 4 nodes installed in Lanyana Way, Bottle Brush Avenue, Eugarie Street and Sunshine Beach Road.
- The NBN roll-out is Fibre to the Node meaning the "last mile" (from the node to your building) is still over the existing
- The NBN is only an "infrastructure" roll-out. You need to choose a service provider to have your internet installed.
- After the nodes are installed there is still testing and provisioning meaning we only expect the first NBN lines to be activated around August/September
What is NBN?
There's a lot of confusion about what the NBN is which is understandable when what it is, or more accurately, how it is delivered has changed a few times
and is likely going to change again.
In the most simple terms there is a very long line of Fibre cable that has been laid in the ground across Australia. From that line, new Fibre lines are
run out in one of several ways:
- FTTN: Fibre to the Node, boxes at intervals across the network
- FTTF: Fibre to the Frontage, as in the street frontage or kerb
- FTTB: Fibre the to the Basement or building
- FTTH: Fibre to the Home
The NBN website has a good little visual about it on their website.
Each of these architectures requires you to arrange the last bit with a Internet Service Provider (ISP). Noosa Junction has a FTTN NBN network.
Speed vs Reliability
This is where most of the confusion lies. NBN promises download speeds of up to 100Mbps. Awesome huh? The most on your ADSL2+ plan is probably 8Mbps. Well
yes, NBN can give you better speeds.
If you are the only one of the network.
There are other factors too that affect speeds such as:
- Your distance away from the exchange
- The state of the copper wires running of the last mile
- Your "upload" speed .. yes, if you have a capped upload speed, like 1/2 Mbps ... it can affect your download capacity.
Contention ratio is one intangible factor we can use to best attempt to measure apples with apples for reliability.
Having super fast broadband speeds is really kind of useless if, as a business, we can't reliably get those speeds.
What is Contention Ratio
Think of it this way.
If your internet connection is a tall cold strawberry milkshake and you have one straw, your contention ratio is 1:1
You can drink as much as you want as fast or as slowly as you want whenever you want it.
If your internet provider has a contention ratio of 1:25 then you are now sharing your delicious milkshake with 24 other people. So that's
24 other straws in your refreshing milkshake all fighting to get some refreshment.
This is normally how a cheaper broadband plan works.
The problem only gets worse in today's world.
Say you have 1:25 contention ratio, meaning you and 24 other connections share the speed. Now each connection/home, lets call it a home, each home might
have a couple of people living in it? Each person has a phone, and in most cases some will also have a tablet.
Each home has two people, each on a computer and with a phone, maybe a tablet, and also perhaps a WI-FI connected TV. So you're looking at six devices for each home.
Economy of Scale 101 scenario: 24 other homes on the same connection as you, each with 6 devices, all watching
Netflix; your 100Mbps connection is now shared amongst 150 other connections, so now you’re single device is not even getting a 1Mbps connection.
Bear in mind this is a very very generalisation of the problem to try and make it a little easier to understand.
Why is this important?
For residential broadband, it's not really a big deal. If everyone's watching Netflix, perhaps you get a bit of buffering... unless
it’s the Game of Thrones season finale, you'll probably be able to live with it.
However if you're a business, and you're trying to process an EFTPOS transaction, or making a very important Skype call to the US, then you really need
to make sure you're guaranteed the speed you've purchased.
But my provider already guaranteed me a 100Mbps connection?
Yes they did. And they are right. They guaranteed you access to a 100Mbps connection. You need to look closely at the terms and conditions, because what
they are literally saying is you have access to a connection capable of 100Mbs.
Unless you've got a 1:1 contention ratio.
Why is it so confusing? and why are the IPS's trying to trick me?
They're not really trying to trick you. It's just easier to understand (and sell) speed-based plans than trying to explain the mechanics of how
delivering broadband actually works.
And in most cases, this is fine. The NBN roll-out is just ADSL on steroids. It's all pretty much exactly the same, there's just more of it. So you will
most likely notice an increase in speeds. But that speed will slowly diminish as more people come on the network, and we all consume more bandwidth.
Demand a 1:1 connection ratio
Do yourself a favour; ring up your business service provider and ask what the contention ratio on your current plan is.
Bear in mind that it is likely they:
- Won't tell you
- The wonderful sales staff won't have the information provided to them to be able to tell you.
What you can do is look for an ISP that clearly provides a broadband service with a 1:1 contention ratio or a much lower contention ratio. Now, bear in
mind currently it's not cheap, so you'll need to weigh up your costs vs reliability. But if you do have an uncontended (or dedicated) line, in most
business cases you don't need the 100Mbps connection. You can actually get away with an 8Mbps line.
At Junction 2 we have a 20/20Mbps 1:1 dedicated line. It costs several hundred dollars a month and we only notice the speed starting to "wobble" when
we get more than 15 people in the space. Most of our members are high bandwidth users as well.
We're in the process of upgrading to a faster system, as our capacity has grown to accommodate 30 members, so we'd love to share what we've learnt with
Noosa Council are hosting the next #NoosaConnects event at the J on 19th April. Visit the website
for more information and make sure you attend.