GUIDES & RESOURCES

Fibre To The Node (FTTN)

What on earth is fibre to the node, you ask? What even is a node? For those of us who don’t speak tech, Fibre to the Node is one of the ways Aussies can connect to the NBN. Read on to get the low-down on Fibre to the Node and how it works.
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Updated 22/09/2023
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Added information on differences between FTTN and other NBN connection type along with details on how to upgrade from FTTN.
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Written by

Mel Basta

Updated 22/09/2023

What changed?

Added information on differences between FTTN and other NBN connection type along with details on how to upgrade from FTTN.
Our aim is to help you make better informed decisions. That’s why iSelect’s content is produced in accordance with our fact-checking and editorial guidelines.

Edited by

Laura Crowden

Find out more about how we make money.

View our Privacy Policy.

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What is Fibre to the Node?

Fibre to the Node, or FTTN, is one example of an NBN fixed line connection, where a physical line runs between a home and the NBN hub.1 In this case, the existing copper network is used in addition to fibre optic lines established by the NBN.2

How does FTTN work?

Navigating the NBN can be tricky, especially if you’re unfamiliar with techie terminology like ‘fibre’ and ‘node.’ So, let’s break it down for you. 

The NBN is made up of fibre optic cables that stretch out across the country, some which run into centralised hubs within your community, which are called fibre nodes.  

Node’ may sound a bit out of this world, but they’re kind of like a street cabinet, and you’ve probably seen them around without even realising.  These cabinets get the NBN much closer to your home, but don’t quite allow the signal to reach you.  

For the final step, a copper line (that was already used for your existing landline phone or internet network) is run between your house and the node.3 And voila… your home is connected to the NBN!

Who can access Fibre to the Node? 

If you’re new to researching the NBN, it’s important to understand that how you connect to the NBN will mostly depend on where you live and the technology available at your address.  

Luckily, there’s a really easy way to check how your home or business can be connected to the NBN.  Simply enter your address at the NBN website and you’ll instantly see your connection options and instructions on what to do next.  

But to keep it simple, as long as you have access to an existing copper line, you can get access to the NBN through FTTN.4  

If you’re keen to switch to an alternative NBN technology, you can apply for an Individual Premises Switch, but keep in mind that this could be expensive.5 

Is FTTN the standard for NBN? How does it differ from FTTC or FTTP? 

Firstly, let's quickly explain what all these letters mean.  FTTC translates to Fibre to the Curb which is where the fibre optic cable runs closer to your house - and as the name suggests - to the curb!  It then connects to your house using the existing copper lines.6 

FTTP, which stands for Fibre to the Premises, goes that little bit further, running a cable all the way to your actual house.7 

FTTN, FTTC and FTTP all use fibre optic cables,8 but FTTP is often seen as the better and faster connection9 due to its reliance on fibre optic cabling alone and lack of copper cabling.10 

Each of these NBN connection types can be thought of as one step ahead of the other, so, FTTN is an upgrade from ADSL, FTTC is a level up from FTTN, and FTTP is seen as the top (robo)dog!11 

How fast is FTTN? 

While FTTN connections can offer speeds from 50Mbps to 100Mbps, your actual speed may be impacted by how close you are to the fibre node12 (remember: this is the street cabinet your house is connected to).  

Other factors can also impact your NBN speed, such as:13 

  • Equipment quality 
  • Signal reception 
  • Modem and cabling 
  • Your service provider's configuration and management of their own network 
  • And of course, the internet plan you choose can also affect speed

How does FTTN work?Source: NBN – nbn Fibre to the Node explained (FTTN)

How is FTTN different from other connection types? 

The NBN Technology Mix includes all the different NBN network connection types, including FTTN. Generally, there are two ways to access the NBN: 

  • Fixed line connections: FTTN uses a physical line to connect your home to the NBN.14 The difference between an FTTN connection and another fixed line connection is the configuration of the physical lines.

    As we mentioned,  a Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) connection runs a fibre optic line directly between your home and a nearby fibre node and doesn’t require that extra piece of copper network at the end.15

  • Sky Muster satellite services: This connection type is used mainly for regional or remote parts of Australia.16 Satellites beam the NBN signal across mainland Australia, Tasmania, and even to remote outreaches like Norfolk Island so that more people can access it.17 

What equipment do I need for FTTN? 

Good question! With a FTTN connection, your internet provider should give you a VDSL2 compatible modem.18 You can use a modem you already have, just make sure it’s VDSL2 compatible in order to access the NBN.19 

No other equipment should be required, unless you require a wall socket to be installed on your premises which allows your modem to connect to the copper wiring. 

How do I get FTTN? 

Once you’ve checked that your address is NBN-enabled on the NBN website, simply get in touch with your preferred internet provider to arrange for your home or business to be connected.20 

Once your provider (or an authorised NBN technician) has worked their magic and given you the green light, simply plug in your modem and away you go! 

How can I tell what NBN connection I have? Can I upgrade my NBN connection? 

You can enter your address at the NBN website to see if your home or business has been NBN-enabled. In many cases, it’s likely that it is NBN-ready! 

If your current NBN connection type isn’t servicing your needs, you may be able to upgrade it.  NBN upgrades are available for eligible locations but may require a change of infrastructure21, so it’s best to first inquire with the NBN Technology Choice Program. 

Ready to compare NBN plans? 

While you may not always have much choice when it comes to exactly how your home is connected to the NBN, you can, however, choose your own internet provider.  

iSelect have partnered with CIMET to help you compare NBN plans from a range of plans and providers*. To start comparing, just hop online or call our friendly team on 13 19 20.


Sources:
1 NBN - Fibre to the Node explained (FTTN)
2 As above.
3 As above.
4 As above.
5 NBN - NBN Technology Choice Program
6 NBN - Fibre to the Curb explained

7 NBN - Fibre to the Premises
8 Aussie Broadband - FTTP v FTTN v FTTC: NBN connections explained

9 As above.
10 NBN - Fibre to the Premises explained (FTTP)

11 Aussie Broadband - FTTP v FTTN v FTTC: NBN connections explained
12 As above.
13 NBN - Preparing for the NBN broadband access network, NBN Fibre to the Node, page 6.
14 NBN - Fibre to the Node explained (FTTN)

15 NBN - Fibre to the Premises explained (FTTP)
16 NBN - Sky Muster satellite explained
17 As above.
18 NBN - Preparing for the NBN broadband access network, NBN Fibre to the Node, page 3.
19 As above.

20 As above.
21 NBN - Upgrading your NBN technology

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