Do I need a modem for the NBN?

Advertisement

Ready to make the switch to the  NBN? If Australia’s new, fast broadband network is finally available in your area, you’re probably preparing to jump to a new NBN plan. But if you’re new to the NBN, you’ll most likely have questions about the setup and installation – in particular, whether you’ll need a brand new modem to connect.

Do I need a new modem for the NBN?

You may not need a new modem, but you do need one that’s NBN-compatible. Many newer modems are already NBN-ready, especially if it’s a device provided by an internet service provider, but this isn’t a guarantee – generally, you best bet is to check with your intended NBN provider at sign-up.

The most common fixed-line NBN connections – Fibre-to-the-Node and Fibre-to-the-Building – will require a VDSL2-compatible modem, which your NBN provider can supply to you at sign up. Other connection types, such as Fibre-to-the-Premises, Fibre-to-the-Curb, and HFC, use a specially-installed NBN connection box, known as a Network Termination Device, that you’ll need to pair with a modem/router or gateway.

Overall, the exact equipment you’ll need will depend on your existing hardware, the technology used to supply the NBN at your home, and your choice of NBN provider. Fortunately, that NBN provider can also advise you exactly what kind of modem or router you’ll require in order to get connected.

Modem or router: what’s the difference?

Although both pieces of equipment are now commonly combined into the one device, modems and routers aren’t the same thing.

  • A modem connects directly to the internet and your service provider.
  • A router connects to your modem, creates your home WiFi network, and allows multiple devices to connect to it simultaneously.

While you can use a modem to connect directly to a computer via an Ethernet cable, you won’t be able to create home WiFi without a router. In order to set up a home wireless network that can service multiple laptops, phones, tablets, and other devices, you’ll need to connect your modem to a router, or simply use a combined, 2-in-1 modem/router.

Luckily, most NBN providers offer these combination modem-slash-routers to customers, either as part of an on-contract plan or as a one-off upfront purchase. Prices will vary depending on your telco, but entry-level equipment can be priced from as little as $50-$60.

Keep in mind that if you opt for the modem/router supplied by your NBN provider, you’ll probably have a easier time with tech support in the event of a connection issue – they know how to troubleshoot their own hardware, but may struggle with equipment purchased elsewhere.

If you instead decide to buy your own modem or router, look for the following:

  • VDSL2 support (for Fibre-to-the-Node and Fibre-to-the-Building connections)
  • A WAN port (for Fibre-to-the-Premises, Fixed Wireless, Hybrid Fibre Coaxial and satellite connections)
  • A fast WiFi classification (AC1600  or higher)

NBN plans with included modems

Although you do have the option of bringing your own choice of modem to most NBN plans, you’ll find the majority of providers are happy to supply pre-configured, ‘plug and play’ equipment to customers. If you do go for a telco-supplied modem, you’ll won’t need to worry about checking your device’s specifications and compatibility.

You’ll also find many telcos throw in modems/routers free on 12 or 24-month contracts. However, depending on your plan, you may need to return your device if you cancel your contract or switch providers.

Below is a selection of NBN plans with included modems across all four speed tiers.

Unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Premium Evening Speed (NBN 100) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Plus Evening Speed (NBN 50) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Standard Evening Speed (NBN 25) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

Unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) Plans

The following table shows a selection of published unlimited Basic Evening Speed (NBN 12) plans on Canstar Blue’s database, listed in order of standard monthly cost, from the lowest to highest, and then by alphabetical order of provider. Use our comparison tool above to see plans from a range of other providers. This is a selection of products with links to a referral partner.

 

Image: EKKAPHAN CHIMPALEE/Shutterstock

Share this article

Advertisement