NBN connectionAustralian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are currently being offered connections to the NBN, but many are unsure if it’s right for their organisation.

For most SMEs outside of the Central Business Districts of Australia’s Capital cities, the NBN will come as a Fibre to the Node (FTTN) connection, with the “last mile” being traditional copper pairs, using VDSL technology. Fibre to the Curb (FTTC) will also appear in a limited number of locations around Australia, where the “last few metres” from the street into the building are traditional copper pairs.

The media and politicians have widely covered the issues people get connecting to the NBN, but amongst the noise what is missing is the answer to the question – “Is this good for my business?”

Much of the focus with NBN is placed on data, but problems more often arise with voice services, especially when it comes to FTTN.

When we were using ADSL connections, the ADSL data was provided over the top of our phone line. With VDSL, the opposite happens – you get your phone line inside your data stream.

The other big problem with NBN that homes and small businesses are not aware of is contention. Simply put, this is the issue of how many people or businesses share each ISP’s node or switch. This is an old Internet-wide problem, and affects all flavours of broadband.

We all share the same pipelines of data, and with machines starting to use that data too, getting our fair share of the bandwidth available will become more contentious.

By design, NBN is a home product, and while its affordability makes it attractive for small businesses, the pitfalls associated mean that a business-grade connection should be favoured where costs allow.

Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS) will connect your business directly to your ISP, rather than directly to the Internet. This eliminates the heavy contention you get from the public space of the Internet between your sites, and between you and any resources you access from your ISP.

MPLS typically has large advantages in true speed (actual Internet connection speeds are typically only a fraction of the advertised maximum) and latency, the time it takes to respond to a request. MPLS also has the ability to run end-to-end Quality of Service (QoS), making throughput-sensitive services such as voice and video more reliable by far.

Security issues haven’t become news yet for the NBN, but another clear advantage with going with an MPLS connection is that your gateway to the world isn’t public-facing, and provides at least one more layer of security between you and danger.

Frustration with NBN’s pitfalls for small businesses has fuelled competition, with new players such as TPG and Vocus competing with incumbents Optus and Telstra.

How can Diamond help?

If you have any questions about your NBN connections, or any aspect of your network’s security, contact us today. We also provide a range of communications services such as Mobile fleet management and Carrier Solutions Supportcontact us today on 1300 307 907 or via our online contact form below.

Glossary

NBN National Broadband Network Australia’s government-run wholesale internet service provider, providing Internet access to end users via Retail Service Providers (RSP)
ADSL Asynchonous Dialer Subscriber Line ADSL, ADSL2 and ADSL2+ are the incumbent broadband technologies, using connections from phone exchanges to end points over existing copper phone pairs. Voice services run parallel to data services
VDSL Very fast Dialer Subscriber Line Newer technology to ADSL. Speeds up to 4x faster than the fastest ADSL. Voice services run as data services (digital to analog conversion)
FTTN Fibre To The Node High speed fibre optic is run to the street-side node, shortening the distance from connections from the exchange and providing much greater potential data bandwidth. Connection from the node to the end point is via existing copper telephone cable
FTTC Fibre To The Curb A further extension of FTTN, where the fibre is run from the node along the street and the copper pair is run only the last few metres from the nearest pit into the premises
MPLS Multi-Protocol Label Switching MPLS is a method of providing high-quality Internet services. MPLS services provided by Internet Service Providers (ISPs) allow Wide Area Networks (WANs) without having data exit onto the public Internet and require VPNs for privacy/security
VPN Virtual Private Network A “tunnel” between two Internet connections (usually geographically distant) using encryption to provide data privacy and security