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FTT what? NBN terminology explained

June 19, 2018

FTTP, FTTN, FTTB, FTTC – WTF does it all mean?

If you aren’t already on the NBN then no doubt it’ll be coming your way very soon. How you will be connected depends on where you are and where you sit in the rollout queue. We’ve tried to give you a no fuss run down of each of the key connections and what each one can deliver for you so you can be on the front foot when it’s your turn.

MTM [Multi Technology Mix] means that your area is being checked to see what technology is already available so it can be used to get you on board ASAP. If they use what’s already there, there’s probably less work to be done.

FTTP [Fibre To The Premises] is when a fibre optic line runs from the closest ‘fibre node’ straight to your place, so you’ll need an installer to connect an NBN access network inside. This is the ‘holy grail’ of connections and will get you the best possible speeds NBN has to offer.

FTTN [Fibre to the Node] is used when existing copper lines are connected to a nearby fibre node (usually in a street cabinet), then the signal travels through the fibre optic line, to the cabinet, then connects with the existing copper line to hook up to your place. There are a lot of factors involved here, so you’re looking at getting good speeds, but not the fastest on offer. Your speed will mostly be due to how far you are from the node.

FTTB [Fibre To The Building] is used in apartment buildings and the like so, the fibre optic line runs into the central comms room and each individual connection uses the technology that’s already there to connect each apartment.

FTTC [Fibre To The Curb] is new technology and used when fibre is extended close to your place and connected to a small distribution point unit which is usually found in a pit on the street. The copper network is then connected to the fibre to make the connection. You’ll need a connection device inside that you may be able to install yourself.

HFC [Hybrid Fibre Coaxial] is when existing pay TV or a cable network is used to connect the final part of the access network connection. A line runs from the nearest fibre node to your place, where the line currently is.

Sound simple? Maybe not so much, but certainly the main take away here is that you can’t choose which connection you have, it’s all dependant on what’s in your area. You don’t need to understand all the in’s and out’s, it’s just good to have an idea of the speeds you should be expecting and that NBN isn’t just simply NBN in many cases, it can be quite different from place to place.

You can check what stage you are at here.

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