Mon, 08 Jul 2019 - 09:51
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Slow internet? Maybe it's your modem.

When the NBN rolls past your door – and almost ten million households are now able to connect – it opens up a new world of high speed broadband services, at affordable prices.

This is already changing the way Australians live.  Many of us now have big screen internet connected TVs – giving us access to a world of video on demand.  Services like Netflix, Stan and YouTube, along with the on demand video platforms of our free to air television broadcasters, give Australians enormous choice – at modest cost – thanks to the bandwidth NBN provides. Today most Australians take it for granted that you can stream high quality video to your internet connected TV – without for a moment having to worry about how much data you are using. It’s a big change from just a few years ago – when most people got their broadband on ADSL, with an average speed of 8 Mbps.

It is clear Australians value the high speed connectivity the NBN brings.  Just look at how much we are all downloading.  The average customer on the NBN is downloading over 240 gigabytes of data a month.

But for some people, the speed they get in their home is less than the network is actually capable of.  This can happen for several reasons – and one is that their modem is not up to the job.

New research by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) shows that wi-fi performance in the home varies significantly depending on what type of modem is being used.

ACMA’s ‘Modem performance testing Outcomes Report’ shows that some modems, particularly those that operate at the 2.4 Ghz Wi-Fi standard, are incapable of supporting the higher data rates currently offered by FTTN NBN services.

What this means is that if you are getting disappointing speeds from the NBN, you should look at whether you have the right modem for the job – or whether it is worth changing your modem.

ACMA also found that obstacles in the signal path of a device, such as walls and structures in the home, can have serious impacts on a consumer’s wi-fi experience. This means that consumers may be able to improve the performance of their devices by moving the modem – or by changing the locations within the house where they use wi-fi enabled devices.

Interestingly, the ACMA found that more expensive devices did not necessarily perform better than more modestly priced devices.

As the Minister responsible for the NBN, I hear from many Australians about the broadband speeds they are experiencing when connected to the NBN. This research highlights that for some consumers who are not getting the speeds they hoped for, the fix could be as simple as getting a new modem.

If you’re interested in tips and tricks on how to get the most out of your NBN connection, NBN Co has published a guide on their website, which can be accessed here:

And if you want more detail on the modem testing work, you can read the ACMA report here.