NBN Fixed Wireless was designed to be consistent

The letter “NBN Wireless On The Way” (10 November) argues on one hand that “wireless is the way to go” but also suggests that all wireless networks inevitably lose speed as more users are added.

These arguments are mainly relevant to standard mobile broadband, where the number of people using the network in any one area ebbs and flows as people move around. 

Put simply, if there’s 1,000 people using their mobiles or 3G dongles to access mobile internet in close proximity, the speed for everyone will be slower than when there’s only 100 people there. 

NBN Fixed Wireless is designed differently: a permanent roof-mounted antenna is installed on each home or business that’s connected – and the number of premises that can be connected to any one fixed wireless facility is capped. Being buildings, they don’t move around like people do. 

So, the amount of available speed is carefully shared out among the premises. By design, there won’t be the same degree of speed fluctuation as on a mobile network. 

Mobile broadband is obviously still very important to give you a connection when you’re out and about, but as your letter writer identified, any wireless system with an unpredictable number of users can provide inconsistent speeds. The NBN Fixed Wireless network – alongside our fibre and satellite networks – has been designed to provide a more consistent broadband service.

One last thing – if you have NBN Fixed Wireless connected to your home, you can still use Wi-Fi to share it around your home to multiple devices – including smartphones. So, even if your phone’s mobile internet speed is lousy, you can give it a boost when you’re at home by connecting it to your home Wi-Fi, which will use the more consistent NBN Fixed Wireless connection.

Tony Gibbs, 

 National Broadband Network Co

National stakeholder advisor for fixed wireless

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