NBN utilises a number of technologies to deliver home broadband to consumers across Australia. There are various factors that may affect your broadband quality and some simple steps you can take to maximise the performance of your internet service if you have a fixed line broadband connection.
Most consumers will have a fixed line broadband connection that utilises a physical line running to the premises, such as fibre to the premises, fibre to the node or HFC cable.
If you live in a rural or regional area you may have a fixed wireless broadband connection, which transmits data over radio signals, using similar technology to mobile networks. If so, we encourage you to view our guidance on using fixed wireless for specific information in relation to this technology.
We encourage you to shop around and compare different providers to find the best deal for your needs.
Providers publish a key fact sheet on their website that indicates the plan speed that they recommend for different household sizes (i.e. the number of concurrent users) and for different online applications. We encourage you to review these key fact sheets to help you decide on the most appropriate plan for you.
If you are still uncertain what plan speed you need, you can always start with a slower plan and change to a higher speed later if you need to, as it is sometimes easier to increase your plan speed than to reduce it while under contract.
You don’t always need the highest speed plan to get your online applications to perform to a high quality. For example, a 50/20 Mbps plan speed would allow a household to stream multiple high definition videos simultaneously to large screens without buffering.
If you are working from home, you may need to consider your upload speeds (for example, to upload files or for video calls). Ask your provider whether your plan has the upload speeds that are suitable for you.
Contact your provider
If you are experiencing reduced broadband speeds, we encourage you to contact your provider. Your provider is the best source of information on issues that may be affecting the performance of your service and can provide you with assistance.
Some providers support higher speeds than others during the busy hours of the day (7–11 pm), so shopping around and comparing different providers may be one option to improve your speeds.
However, if the reason you are experiencing reduced speeds is because of a bottleneck in your access network, this will affect all providers.
We encourage you to ask your provider to explain why you are experiencing reduced speeds — this will help you decide whether changing providers is the right option.
Upgrading to a higher speed plan (for example, from 25/5 Mbps to 50/20 Mbps) may not improve your experience if the network is overloaded.
If you have been experiencing reduced speeds for a considerable period of time, we encourage you to contact your provider to lodge a fault report.
If you are not receiving your current plan speed, moving to a higher speed plan is unlikely to help you until your service has been fixed.
Consider upgrading to a higher speed plan only if you do receive the speed of your existing plan but require a faster speed so that everyone in your household can have a good online experience.
Upgrading plans above 100 Mbps
Providers are increasingly offering plans with maximum download speeds above 100 Mbps. Some models of consumer gateway/modem equipment have Ethernet ports that cannot support data transfer rates above 100 Mbps. In those cases, any devices connected to those Ethernet ports would experience speeds capped at 100 Mbps, even when the consumer is on a very high speed plan above 100 Mbps.
When upgrading to a very high speed plan, we encourage you to check with your provider that your home equipment can support those speeds to devices directly connected to the Ethernet port.
Improving your online experience when using applications
- To improve your online experience, you may be able to adjust the settings of the particular application you are using. Resetting the application to factory settings or reinstalling the application may also improve its performance.
- Shifting some of your internet usage to outside of the busy hours of the day (7–11 pm) may improve the quality and speed of your internet service, without significantly impacting your experience.
Large file downloads and uploads
- Avoid downloading or uploading large files during the busy hours of the day. If possible, consider doing these downloads or uploads overnight to avoid congestion.
- Internet video services will automatically adjust the quality of the stream to minimise buffering and ensure the stream can still be delivered. If you are experiencing connectivity issues, consider manually decreasing the resolution (for example, choose a standard definition over HD or 4K). When viewing video on a smaller screen, a lower resolution may not impact your viewing experience as much as it would if you were using a larger screen.
- Netflix, Stan, Amazon Prime Video, Disney +, Apple TV+ and other streaming services allow you to download content to watch later on certain devices. Plan what you want to watch in the evening beforehand, then download it overnight or outside the busy hours. Doing this will eliminate buffering and you may also be able to watch your preferred content at a higher resolution.
Online movie rental services
- Online movie rental services usually allow you to download movies in advance to a local device. Plan what you want to watch in the evening beforehand, then download it overnight. Doing this will improve your viewing experience and eliminate buffering.
Software and game downloads
- Windows updates often download automatically without notice. Setting your Windows PC to metered connection mode during busy hours can improve your experience. This setting allows you to defer downloading non-critical Windows updates and make some other programs more conservative in the use of your data rate.
- Game updates and downloads that occur during busy hours can affect other applications you might be trying to use. Steam has functionality that lets you schedule updates during off-peak times. PlayStation 4 users have the option to start a download remotely from the PlayStation web store, so you can start downloads overnight or during the day.
- You can switch off the automatic download of software and game updates for your smartphones, computers and tablets and manually update them instead during non-busy hours. You can also schedule the update so that it occurs during the off-peak period.
- When video conferencing, you may have the option to manually reduce the resolution if you are experiencing buffering — this could improve your experience.
- You can also switch off video when you are not presenting. This will use a lower data rate and may improve the quality of the conference call.
- Schedule your video conference outside of the busy hours or earlier in the day in order to improve the quality of the conference.
If you are experiencing reduced speeds on your broadband service, the following troubleshooting guide may help you.
Broadband speed scenarios
Your speeds are slow occasionally
Your speeds may be impacted by increased network usage. If your service speeds do not improve, you should contact your ISP and ask for this to be investigated.
Your speeds are slow in certain parts of your home
There may be an issue with your Wi-Fi router or how your home network is set up. Your ISP may be able to help you solve these problems.
Your speeds are slow most or all of the time
There may be a fault on the network or with the NBN Co network equipment installed at your premises. Run a number of internet speed tests at different times and contact your ISP to lodge a fault report for this to be investigated. Discuss the timeframes for repair and what your options are until this matter is resolved.
Your speeds are acceptable during the day, but your service slows down considerably or you have difficulty using some applications during the busy hours (7–11 pm)
If your service slows down considerably at similar times each day, this could mean that your service is being impacted by network congestion or slowed down by your ISP.
Some NBN technologies may be at greater risk of congestion due to limited capacity on these technologies. Consumers using fixed wireless or satellite, and also some consumers using HFC, may experience reduced broadband speeds or outages or notice a reduction in the quality of their connection.
ISPs can slow down their services at very busy times, with some ISPs doing this more often than others. While this can keep prices lower, your speeds may slow down when you are online during the evening.
Contact your ISP to lodge a fault report for this to be investigated.
In the meantime, you can take steps to improve your viewing experience. These include shifting some of your internet usage to outside the busy hours of the day, manually decreasing the resolution of your video stream, or downloading content overnight or during the day.
|Most of your applications work but a particular application does not work well||
You may be encountering issues with a particular application because of the way it is configured. It is also possible that the application may need to be updated to the latest version.
Changing the configuration of the application, resetting the application to factory settings or reinstalling the application may improve its performance.
It may also be a problem at the application provider’s end. For example, more users trying to access it at the same time than the provider anticipated.
There are a number of factors that may affect the quality of your home broadband. It is important that you are aware of these factors if you are moving to the NBN or considering upgrading to a higher speed plan.
|Factors affecting broadband quality||Details|
|Multiple users and devices||The number of household members and devices that are online at the same time — if multiple devices are connected at the same time, this can cause slower speeds|
|VPN or proxy software||The use of VPN or proxy software installed on your end device(s) or network equipment|
|Connection||Connecting to your router or modem via Wi-Fi instead of an Ethernet LAN cable|
|Router location||The location of your Wi-Fi router and obstructions in the premises (e.g. walls). This may affect the Wi-Fi signal — the closer the router is to your device, the better the performance is likely to be.|
The configuration of your networking equipment and, in particular, your Wi-Fi router. Most modern Wi-Fi routers are 'dual-band' and can use both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz channel bands — the 2.4 GHz channel band is likely to provide better in-home Wi-Fi coverage (better penetration through walls), while the 5 GHz channel band may provide a higher data rate.
We recommend that you try both of these channel bands for any particular device and select the channel band with the best performance.
|In-home wiring||The condition of your in-home wiring — your ISP or a licenced cabler can assess the in-home wiring at your premises to ensure that it is optimal. Older in-home wiring and wall sockets may also impact the performance of your broadband service.|
|Hardware and software quality||
The quality of your hardware and software (i.e. modems, routers, tablets and laptops) — old hardware and software may not run efficiently and this could impact your broadband performance. We encourage you to speak to your ISP or follow the troubleshooting tips available from your modem manufacturer.
We note that you should only upgrade your hardware if you are sure that it is impacting the speed and performance of your broadband service — it is possible that there is another issue (such as one or more of the above factors) that is causing the problem, and purchasing new hardware may not resolve it.
If you have a complaint about your broadband service, you should first try and resolve it with your provider. If you cannot resolve the problem, you can lodge a complaint with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.
You can also report the issue to the ACCC.