Fibre networking at an NBN Point of Interconnect

How the NBN could transform mobile transit

4G/5G mobile growth will not undermine the NBN business case.  It should actually help boost NBN revenue.

(opinion) Phone towers aren’t magical.  They need to be connected back to a datacentre in order to process calls, send texts and most importantly — connect you to the Internet.

There’s no doubt that one of the greatest cost barriers for mobile phone companies to increase coverage is the cost of backhaul to mobile phone towers.

Telstra has always had a natural advantage in the mobile coverage race due to its extensive fibre network laid out between its telephone exchanges.  Optus is not too far behind, but certainly lacks the robust network Telstra has especially in rural areas.

But let’s think for a moment about Vodafone, or potentially a theoretical fourth national mobile carrier which may or may not start with the letters TPG.  The National Broadband Network can play an extraordinary role in helping these companies not only expand their network coverage size, but also create denser and higher bandwidth coverage to ease congestion.

Dark fibre vs managed services

Traditionally, a carrier may opt to roll out their own fibre to a tower — but that could come at a huge capital cost which may not be viable for carriers with comparatively lower subscribers.

Alternatively, they may rent dark fibre or purchase a managed transit service from the likes of Telstra or Optus and pay back a recurring fee for the amount of bandwidth they want delivered through the service.  Unfortunately this means even if only a small number of customers are connected to a tower at a given time, the carrier would have to pay for the full bandwidth they’d purchased from their transit provider.

How the NBN could change the game

But the NBN could change all that, and this could mean enormous transit cost savings for leaner carriers who don’t own as much transit network infrastructure.

Early last year, the company revealed that it began conducting trials for “Cell Site Access” — giving mobile carriers like Vodafone access to the National Broadband Network to connect towers.

AVC+CVC works well for mobile transit

The two-part access and connectivity charge (AVC+CVC) that nbn currently uses means that the carrier can pay for a relatively low cost for a high bandwidth Access Virtual Circuit (say 100+ Mbps) at the tower but only pay for the bandwidth at a regional level (Connectivity Serving Area, CSA) at the point of interconnect (POI).

This means that no matter how many towers they put up, as long as the overall bandwidth that gets transferred across the mobile network doesn’t change, there will only be a minimal cost difference in terms of transit between towers.

Of course, the equipment costs will still exist — but carriers could increase their cell density in a metropolitan area or regional centres by installing small “towers”, but only have to pay some $40 in monthly cost for connecting the towers to the NBN Point of Interconnect.

Great for dealing with peak demand at venues

The flexibility of the two-tier AVC-CVC model for mobile carriers means that if “mobs” of people aggregate at a particular location say for a sporting event — the carrier could simply increase the low-cost AVC component to cope with the peak demand at that particular location.  That, of course, assumes that overall data consumption doesn’t increase which is probably not true from experience.  But it means that carriers will not have to pay massive premiums for high-bandwidth transit during the entire year, when it can cater for occasional high demand by paying a little more in the access component over an NBN transit solution.


I think there is massive potential for NBN to shake up the mobile transit market.  Once the NBN is built, the infrastructure will be there to support high density microcells in built up areas and also for carriers to expand their coverage in more regional areas at relatively low cost.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that growth in mobile doesn’t necessarily undermine the NBN.  4G and 5G networks will still need high bandwidth transit to carry all that data from the tower back to the carrier’s data centres… and it seems the NBN is an obvious candidate for some carriers.

I’m really quite excited to see what mobile carriers may do in the future with the NBN, and I’m sure nbn wouldn’t mind having some extra revenue given current circumstances with the MTM cost blowout.

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NBN Fibre to the Node Trial at Umina Beach

Initial NBN FTTN areas delayed to test processes

Last week, I reported that the activation of around 164 thousand NBN Fibre to the Node premises had been delayed by up to 4 months.

nbn, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, confirmed the delay to technology publication Delimiter.  The company says they have deliberately chosen a slower activation approach as it “allows us to test our own processes and systems and to identify any issues along the way.”

I suggest you read Renai’s article to get the full spiel from nbn™.

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Inside an NBN node at Umina Beach

Analysis: 164k NBN Fibre to the Node premises delayed

Analysis of nbn’s monthly rollout schedule has revealed that the ambitious Fibre to the Node switch-on has been delayed for hundreds of thousands of premises by up to four months.

According to rollout information produced by the company rolling out the National Broadband Network, the ready for service dates for around 164 thousand premises in the NBN Fibre to the Node trial area have been delayed since the company’s estimates in May.

In May, the company estimated that 37,200 FTTN premises will be declared “Ready for Service” in September 2015 with another 35,200 premises added in October.  However, the latest monthly ready for service plan released by the company last week shows a mere 2,100 premises will be declared “Ready for Service” in September.  Delays continue into October, with only 9,600 premises expected to be activated in that month.

In total around 164 thousand premises have been pushed back by up to 4 months.

A full list of areas delayed can be found at the bottom of the post.

NBN's FTTN Expected Ready For Service dates are slipping
Graph: NBN’s FTTN Expected Ready For Service dates are slipping.
(Blue bars show estimates in May, orange bars show estimates in August.)

The raw data:

Table showing the change in the number of FTTN premises expected to be declared “Ready for Service” by nbn from May to August:

RFS Month May Rollout Schedule
(‘000)
Aug Rollout Schedule
(‘000)
Net change
(‘000)
Sep 2015 37.2 2.1 -35.1
Oct 2015 35.2 9.6 -25.6
Nov 2015 30 36.1 6.1
Dec 2015 28.5 39.2 10.7
Jan 2016 26 35.8 9.8
Feb 2016 47.2 53.9 6.7
Mar 2016 0.0 48.5 48.5

Table showing the full list of Service Area Modules (SAMs) where nbn has delayed the Ready for Service dates:

SAM Identifier May Rollout Schedule Aug Rollout Schedule Approx. # of premises Indicative localities
2BLT-03 Sep-2015 20-Nov-2015 2200 Tingira Heights, Windale, Mount Hutton
2BLT-07 Sep-2015 06-Nov-2015 3000 Floraville, Belmont North
2BLT-08 Sep-2015 02-Oct-2015 2200 Belmont
2BLT-01 Sep-2015 20-Nov-2015 2400 Warners Bay
2BLT-02 Sep-2015 20-Nov-2015 3200 Warners Bay, Mount Hutton
2GRK-01 Sep-2015 16-Oct-2015 4300 Kanwal, Tuggerawong, Wadalba, Wyongah, Hamlyn Terrace
2GRK-02 Sep-2015 23-Oct-2015 3100 Hamlyn Terrace, Warnervale, Woongarrah, Charmhaven
2GRK-03 Sep-2015 06-Nov-2015 3700 Gorokan, Lake Haven, Charmhaven
2GRK-04 Sep-2015 13-Nov-2015 4000 Gorokan, Lake Haven, Toukley, Canton Beach
2GRK-05 Sep-2015 13-Nov-2015 4000 Canton Beach, Norah Head, Noraville, Toukley, Budgewoi Peninsula
2GRK-06 Sep-2015 13-Nov-2015 3000 Kanwal, Warnervale, Hamlyn Terrace
2BLT-06 Oct-2015 27-Nov-2015 2500 Valentine, Croudace Bay
2BLT-04 Oct-2015 27-Nov-2015 2600 Windale, Jewells
2BLT-05 Oct-2015 27-Nov-2015 2900 Floraville, Valentine, Eleebana
4BBE-02 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 3100 Kalkie, Rubyanna, Bundaberg East
4BBE-08 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 2000 Bundaberg South, Bundaberg Central
4BBE-09 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 3500 Kensington, Norville, Svensson Heights, Bundaberg West
2BLT-10 Oct-2015 06-Nov-2015 2600 Blacksmiths, Marks Point, Pelican, Belmont South
4BBE-03 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 2500 Walkervale, Norville
4BBE-04 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 3100 Thabeban, Walkervale, Avenell Heights
4BBE-05 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 3300 Avenell Heights, Bundaberg South, Kepnock, Ashfield
4BBE-06 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 2900 Millbank, Svensson Heights, Bundaberg West
4BBE-01 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 1000 Bundaberg Central
4BBE-07 Oct-2015 Dec-2015 3200 Gooburrum, Bundaberg North
2BLR-01 Nov-2015 Dec-2015 1600 Cameron Park
2BLR-02 Nov-2015 Dec-2015 2700 Cameron Park, Edgeworth, Holmesville, Killingworth, Barnsley
2BLR-03 Nov-2015 Dec-2015 3600 Booragul, Marmong Point, Speers Point, Teralba, Boolaroo
2BLR-04 Nov-2015 Dec-2015 2700 Boolaroo, Speers Point, Argenton
4GYM-01 Nov-2015 Mar-2016 2300 Gympie
2BLR-05 Nov-2015 Dec-2015 2800 Edgeworth, Argenton
2BLR-06 Nov-2015 Dec-2015 1200 Seahampton, West Wallsend, Minmi
2MRS-02 Nov-2015 Mar-2016 3800 Bonnells Bay, Brightwaters, Mirrabooka, Morisset Park, Silverwater, Sunshine, Windermere Park, Yarrawonga Park, Balcolyn
2MRS-03 Nov-2015 Mar-2016 3100 Morisset, Cooranbong
4GYM-02 Nov-2015 Mar-2016 3400 Southside, Jones Hill
2MRS-01 Nov-2015 Mar-2016 2800 Dora Creek, Morisset, Bonnells Bay
2WOY-01 Dec-2015 Feb-2016 500 Umina Beach
2WOY-03 Dec-2015 Feb-2016 3100 Umina Beach, Ettalong Beach
2HAM-10 Dec-2015 Jan-2016 1800 Hamilton, Broadmeadow
2WOY-04 Dec-2015 Feb-2016 2900 Booker Bay, Daleys Point, Ettalong Beach, St Huberts Island, Blackwall
2HAM-01 Dec-2015 Jan-2016 3100 Kooragang, Tighes Hill, Carrington
2WOY-05 Dec-2015 Feb-2016 2100 Woy Woy, Blackwall
2WOY-06 Dec-2015 Feb-2016 2600 Umina Beach
2HAM-13 Dec-2015 Jan-2016 1400 Hamilton East, Newcastle West, Wickham, Hamilton
2HAM-14 Dec-2015 Jan-2016 1600 Newcastle West, The Junction, Hamilton East
2WOY-08 Dec-2015 Feb-2016 3100 Kincumber, Yattalunga, Green Point
2HAM-02 Dec-2015 Jan-2016 4100 Newcastle West, Newcastle
2HAM-05 Dec-2015 Jan-2016 2200 Cooks Hill, Newcastle West, The Hill, Bar Beach
2WOY-02 Jan-2016 Feb-2016 2600 Pearl Beach, Umina Beach, Patonga
2WOY-10 Jan-2016 Feb-2016 1700 Killcare, Killcare Heights, Pretty Beach, Wagstaffe, Box Head
2WOY-11 Jan-2016 Feb-2016 2100 Empire Bay, Bensville
2WOY-12 Jan-2016 Feb-2016 3000 Saratoga, Davistown
2WOY-13 Jan-2016 Feb-2016 1900 Woy Woy, Koolewong
4BRI-01 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 2900 Woorim, Bongaree
4BRI-02 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 3300 Bongaree
4WRN-01 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 1700 Brendale
4BRI-03 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 2700 Bellara, Banksia Beach
4BRI-04 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 2800 Welsby, White Patch, Banksia Beach
4WRN-04 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 2500 Lawnton
4WRN-05 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 3500 Joyner, Lawnton, Warner, Bray Park
4WRN-07 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 1500 Warner, Brendale
4WRN-06 Feb-2016 Mar-2016 2900 Joyner, Warner, Cashmere

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dbc-screencap

Opinion: iiDallas ruling may fix systemic piracy problem

Surprise ruling on online copyright infringement case may help Aussie consumers with pricing and availability of content in the long run.

In a surprise ruling of handed down by Justice Perram last week, Dallas Buyers Club LLC was denied access to the details of around 5,000 iiNet customers who are alleged to have pirated the movie using peer-to-peer technology — after the judge deemed that some damages that DBC wanted to claim from alleged infringers were “untenable”.

In summary, the judge determined that Dallas Buyers Club could only reclaim the cost of the film if it had been genuinely downloaded plus a proportion of the legal costs.  Perram described other claims sought by DBC as being “untenable”, denying the company from seeking:

  • A claim for an amount based on each person who had accessed the uploaded film from each downloader’s Torrent source; and
  • A claim for punitive damages depending on how many copies of other non-DBC copyrighted works had been downloaded by each infringer

Effectively, the ruling sets a precedent against so-called speculative invoicing in Australia where rights holders hold alleged pirates at ransom by demanding large sums (often in the thousands of dollars) or risk facing legal action.

Ruling will prompt rights holders to “do the right thing”

Unlike in other countries where speculative invoicing can be seen as a large source of income for rights holders, Perram’s ruling last week removes much of the financial benefit for rights holders to pursuit alleged pirates.  Legal action will only enable rights holders to recover costs of a regular sale of the film to infringers — and no more.

In effect, this would encourage rights holders to boost availability and affordability of its own content in Australia rather than risking the expensive and unpredictable process of legal proceedings to reclaim costs later down the road.  (Believe it or not, earning money straight away is probably better than not selling something, then suing something for stealing it, and then not knowing the outcome of those proceedings.)

Ruling “a big win” to Australian consumers in more ways than one

Not only is ransom speculative invoicing effectively “banned” by the ruling, it may in fact reduce piracy in the long run.

Traditionally, the island nation of Australia has always suffered from timely and affordable releases — especially TV shows or movies.  But the age of the Internet has changed everything and Australian consumers are able to jump the hurdles to access content intended for overseas or otherwise, pirated.

In June, I did an analysis on the most pirated movies in that month — and found that 67% of those movies were not available for legal digital purchase.  Just imagine if those movies were available for legal purchase!

Australians have long shown that they are willing to pay for content that is easily accessible and are at an affordable price.  The rapid uptake of paid, subscription services such as Netflix, Presto and Stan is evidence of this.

If rights holders continue their current trend of holding back digital releases in select countries, they may find themselves at a financially risky position of recouping limited sales costs.  They also risk the process backfiring on them, leaving them surplus legal costs and no net revenue gain.

So… perhaps now that legal action is shaping up to be not too attractive, rights holders will finally work together to and resolve complex geography-based licensing restrictions and restrictive DRM models to provide us as consumers “easy ways” to purchase content legitimately and legally.  One can dream.

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ltss_trackingstation_sunset

NSW Bogan to benefit from NBN satellite launch

Bogan rejoices over 25/5Mbps speeds in 2016

Residents in the settlement of Bogan near Nyngan, NSW will soon benefit from the launch of the nbn’s first long term satellite called “Sky Muster”.  This is a big win for the community, whose broadband quality rating was determined to be “E” (the lowest band) by the Department of Communication’s MyBroadband analysis.

The satellite, expected to launch on the first day of October, will bring a massive network capacity boost over the current NBN Interim Satellite Service.  The company building the NBN says the satellites are expected to enter into commercial service some time in 2016 and will deliver speeds of up to 25 Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload to rural communities – such as Bogan, NSW.

According to nbn’s rollout map, there are three premises in the Bogan township:

  • 2403 Bogan Road, Bogan
  • 2835 Bogan Road, Bogan
  • 3185 Cathundral Bogan Road, Bogan

However, the accuracy of addressing information especially in rural areas may be patchy due to incomplete or out of date data in the GNAF database (Australia’s authoritative Geocoded National Address File).

opinion/analysis

This really isn’t news. The writer of this piece is aware of how many satire pieces out there poke fun at Bogan, NSW.  He simply wanted to add to this – while featuring the National Broadband Network.

He also apologises in advance for the bad pun.

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Inside an NBN node at Umina Beach

nbn™ reveals staggered FTTN launch date

nbn staggers FTTN commercial launch date depending on ISP’s state

nbn, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network, has updated their website stating that the commercial launch date for their Fibre to the Node network depended on the Access Seeker’s “registered office or principle (sic) place of business is located in Queensland”.

For most access seekers, the date for commercial launch is on Friday 18 September 2015.  For access seekers located in Queensland, the commercial launch date is on the Monday after – on 21 September 2015 (or as advised by NBN Co).

The company has not indicated on their website why the date was staggered across the weekend for the different states.

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NBN Fibre NTD

SkyMesh first to offer speeds over 100/40 on NBN

Last night, internet service provider SkyMesh announced on broadband forum Whirlpool their new offering of symmetric 100/100Mbps download and upload speeds over nbn™ fibre to residential customers.  SkyMesh is the first nbn service provider to offer speeds of over 100/40Mbps to residential connections.

SkyMesh Managing Director, Paul Rees, says the push to provide 100/100 Mbps services came from their customers.  “I think it was first suggested on Whirlpool, then customers started calling to ask if we could provide any faster upload speeds at their premises.”

Paul says the interest initially came from small business customers who backup their data to the Cloud.

“We have a few customers who are graphic artists and one video production company that produces television advertising.  They were looking for a faster way to upload their large files, then they saw the faster speed plans on our website and called us.”

“These faster upload speeds are also ideal for people who use Dropbox and other file sharing applications.”

Plan costs stated on their website start at $99.95 with 30GB anytime data and 60GB off-peak data, with options to go to 2.4TB anytime data and 16TB off-peak data for $199.95.  The prices represent an increase of between $40-$50, compared with those with similar data allowances on the company’s 100/40Mbps plan.

SkyMesh's website showing 100/100 Mbps plans and pricing
SkyMesh’s website showing 100/100 Mbps plans and pricing

SkyMesh also states that can offer custom plans with and “will also do our best to match any Plan published by a competing NBN Co Access Seeker”.  However, with no other access seeker offering symmetrical 100Mbps speeds to residential customers, there is little opportunity to compare pricing.

Innovative use of 250/100 Mbps AVC

nbn™, the company responsible for running the National Broadband Network, does not offer symmetrical port speeds (AVC) of 100 Mbps over Traffic Class 4.  However, the service provider has indicated that they will instead use the 250/100 Mbps AVC option and speed limit the download to 100 Mbps while retaining uploads at full speed.  The higher tier AVC costs $35.20 including GST ($32.00, excl GST) more than the 100/40Mbps ($70 vs $38, excl GST).

Availability

The company states that “nbn co only offers the relevant AVC product to Fibre and FTTB services”. However, they will only be “offering these plans to end users on nbn™ fibre”.

SkyMesh also notes on its website that “plans faster than 100/40 Mbps are available at most, but not all, locations”.  They elaborate on their announcement thread on Whirlpool that some premises in the following areas will not have access to those speeds until nbn™ completes network upgrades:

  • Aitkenvale QLD
  • Armidale NSW
  • Bacchus Marsh VIC
  • Bombo NSW
  • Casey ACT
  • Goodna QLD
  • Jamberoo NSW
  • Kanahooka NSW
  • Kiama NSW
  • Minnamurra NSW
  • Mundingburra QLD
  • Redbank QLD
  • Willunga SA

SkyMesh is leading the way

The company, who has a direct relationship with nbn co, was originally a wireless and satellite broadband company offering services over their own wireless network in South East Queensland and on the IPSTAR.  However, with the rollout of the National Broadband Network, the company began offering services over nbn™ fibre, nbn™ fixed wireless and nbn™ interim satellite.

Since it started offering nbn services, it has become one of the most innovative providers.  It was one of the few service providers who trialed the up to 50/20 Mbps speed tier on nbn™ fixed wireless this year before its commercial launch, and will also be trialing the nbn™ long term satellite with select customers before its commercial launch next year.

The company is also the only service provider to offer unmetered Netflix traffic to customers over nbn™ fixed wireless, and also offers this feature to nbn™ fibre customers.

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Government tables changes to allow 3 day delay of regular mail

Legislation tabled to allow regular letter postage timeframes to be delayed by up to 3 days.

The Federal Government has finally tabled an amendment to Australian Postal Corporation (Performance Standards) Regulations 1998, allowing Australia Post to create two tiers of postage – “priority letters” and “regular letters”.

The changes were long sought after by Australia Post whose letters delivery service was raising to over $300 million dollars per year.  Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, confirmed plans to implement the two-tiered postage priority in March this year.  The company had indicated in the past that priority mail costs would start at around $1.50 when the service is first introduced, with the option of increasing prices to $2.00 in the future.

Comparing the standards table in the amendment with the current standards table, all delivery times have been shifted by three days in the proposed regular letters standard compared with current timeframes.  Current delivery timeframes are maintained if customers choose the priority letter tier.

Table showing time-frames for two-tiered postage
Table showing time-frames for two-tiered postage
Table showing current time-frames for regular letters
Table showing current time-frames for regular letters

The company was also seeking to increase regular postage costs from the current 70c to $1.  The proposed changes still needs to be passed by both houses of Parliament.

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Fibre pit hauling

83k premises dropped from July NBN rollout plan

The devil is in the detail – July’s quarterly construction plan shows 83k premises removed from the nbn rollout plan.

Analysis of the 18 month rollout plan released in July by nbn has shown that around 83,500 premises previously listed as being in the 18 month plan had been removed.

The areas removed were slated for a Fibre to the Node rollout to commence during 2016 and include the areas of and surrounding:

New South Wales

  • Cessnock/Bellbird
  • Darlington Point

Queensland

  • Brassall
  • Currumbin
  • Helidon
  • Magnetic Island
  • Samford
  • Gold Coast/Tweed Heads
  • Mount Crosby
  • Sunshine Coast/Noosa
  • Pittsworth
  • Robina

South Australia

  • Flinders

Tasmania

  • Queenstown
  • Rosebery
  • Zeehan

(for more information, see full table at the end of the post)

At the start of July, the company responsible for building the National Broadband Network announced in a media release that an additional 200,000 premises were added to the nbn rollout.

From initial calculations, this figure was derived from the total number of premises that were added to the rollout plan and does not take into account the number of premises removed from the plan.

If true, this means that the net increase in number of premises expected to commence construction within 18 months would be around 40% less than announced (from 200,000 to around 120,000 premises) in the July press release.

(more…)

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Inside an NBN node at Umina Beach

Poor NBN FTTN/B design may lead to decades of congestion

“With a measly 2Gbps backhaul per node you can forget about 4K Netflix. FTTN is going to be no different to the current Telstra RIMs”

(analysis) Customers on the shiny new NBN FTTN and FTTB networks may find themselves left with slow and congested speeds for decades because of short-sighted network design decisions made by the company.

Analysis of the latest Network Design Rules for the NBN, dated 30th June 2015, reveals that customers may only be able to reach a committed information rate (CIR) of roughly 5Mbps on a fully loaded node – far short of the 25 mbps that popular internet streaming service Netflix says is required for 4K video streaming and also falls short of the Vertigan panel’s recommendation that 50% of Australians will only need 15 Mbps by 2023.

The calculation:

nbn™, the company responsible for building the NBN, currently deploys 4 Point-to-Point fibres from the Fibre Access Node (similar to an “exchange”) to the NBN node where the DSLAM equipment is located.  However, it also goes on to say that only 2 of the 4 fibres will be used for connectivity, with the other 2 reserved for “future growth or migration activities”.

NBN's Network Design Document explains 4 fibres will be allocated per NBN node with only 2 in service.
NBN’s Network Design Document explains 4 fibres will be allocated per NBN node with only 2 in service.

Each of the fibres will deliver a 1Gbps ethernet connection back to the NBN Access Aggregation Switch (AAS), totaling to an effective 2Gbps ethernet connection between the node and the Fibre Access Node – or 4Gbps if all 4 allocated fibres are used.

nbn™ introduces an Access Aggregation Switch (AAS) to combine traffic from multiple nodes to the POI
nbn™ introduces an Access Aggregation Switch (AAS) to combine traffic from multiple nodes to the POI

Also according to the document, depending on the DSLAM configuration, each of nbn™’s FTTN and FTTB nodes are capable of connecting up to 384 premises.

Table of NBN Copper DSLAM options
Table of NBN Copper DSLAM options

Taking all of the above into consideration, in a worse case scenario on a  fully-loaded node at peak hour, customers may only reach 5 Mbps if all traffic was distributed evenly:

Number of DSLAM ports Fibres used for uplink Entire node’s effective uplink (Mbps) Committed Information Rate (CIR, Mbps)
48 2 2000 41.7
192 2 2000 10.4
384 2 2000 5.2

Network design wreaks havoc for binge watching season

If a mere 21% of all premises connected to a node starts streaming a 4K stream on Netflix, the node will exceed its capacity.

As many saw with the launch of popular internet TV streaming service Netflix in Australia, telecommunications companies failed to predict the demand of the service leading to heavy network congestion across Australia’s major ISPs.

For some of Netflix’s popular productions like House of Cards and Orange is the New Black, the company releases all the episodes of in their series at once.  This results in a brand new network usage “profile” that Australian ISPs and network providers like NBN have seen little of before… where customers continuously watch (binge) and subsequently stream content for hours on end.

If a mere 21% of all premises connected to a node starts streaming a 4K stream on Netflix (21% of 384 at 25 Mbps), the node will exceed its capacity.  This will leave zero bandwidth for the remaining 75% of customers potentially connected to the node.

While it can be expected that NBN’s QoS (quality of service) management will balance the load to prevent a small number of customers hogging the entire link, all customers across the board will suffer from congestion issues because of it.

With the increasing prevalence of Internet TV in Australia, the limited design of the NBN FTTN and FTTB networks will have lasting implications on what Australians will be able to do with their Internet connection.


 

FTTP upgrade path, uncertain

nbn™ has also indicated that they will only deploy 12 fibres up to an NBN node, making it difficult to upgrade an NBN FTTN or FTTB node area to fibre without significant downtime or extensive civil works.

nbn™ is introducing the star topology for the MTM rollout to save money
nbn™ to rollout 12-core fibre to each node, rather than the existing 36 to save money

Assuming a fully loaded 384 port NBN node is to be upgraded from FTTN to FTTP, with 4 fibres already allocated to the FTTN DSLAM for connectivity back to the Fibre Access Node, 8 fibres are remaining to potentially deliver fibre services all the way to the customer’s premises.

However, the 8 fibres will only be capable of delivering GPON services (the FTTP technology that the NBN currently uses) to a maximum of 256 premises (each fibre can be split into 32 premises, 8 × 32 = 256).

Without causing massive disruption to all customers connected to the current node, it may not be possible to transition to FTTP on high-capacity nodes other than by rolling out the network from scratch again.

This means that even if nbn™ decides to upgrade the network, they will likely continue using copper-based technologies for the years ahead to avoid large capital costs again.

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