NBN, ADSL, Fibre – What’s the difference?

by - 4 May 2021
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There are so many types of internet connections, and just to add to the confusion, between providers the same type is often called something different.

How can you tell the difference between each one and how do you know which is the right one for your home, or your business? Before we explain each one, let’s look at what upload and download speeds mean, something that all internet service providers advertise, but do you really know what it means? 

Download vs. Upload Speeds

Download speed is how many megabits of data per second it takes to download images, videos, text or other data from the internet. Things like listening to Spotify, watching YouTube or Netflix and downloading files are examples of where you will see your download speed. 

Upload speed is how many megabits per second you can send information from your computer to the internet. Things like sending emails, playing online games, video calling and adding documents to Dropbox are examples of where you will see your upload speed. 

An example of both in action would be navigating to a website like www.google.com. When you type in the website address and press enter, that action is uploaded to the internet. the page that is then displayed is downloaded to your screen. 


SUITABILITY: Business or home office

SPEED: Up to 100Mbps

UPLOAD: 100M/40M

Rolled out by the Australian Government, the NBN runs on copper technology and can often offer a fast connection. However, there are differences between residential and commercial NBN, so make sure you check what you’re signing up to. Residential connection speeds can fluctuate greatly depending on how many people are using it in your area.


SUITABILITY: Business or home office requiring fast, uninterrupted speed

SPEED: Up to 2Gbps


The fastest and most reliable internet connectivity option. Runs on fibre technology, transmitting signals in pulses of modulated light. This gives it higher bandwidth than any other connectivity type as it isn’t bound by the physical limitations of electricity conducting through metal. You can get speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.


SUITABILITY: Back up connection, rural locations, home internet

SPEED: Up to 50Mbps


Mobile wireless internet is the same as what your mobile phone uses. It can be fast and it can be slow, it all depends on your area. Things like what your walls are made out of can impact your connectivity. This can be a good option if you are in a rural area with no wired internet options available.

Satellite Wireless

SUITABILITY: Back up connection, possible primary connection, rural locations

SPEED: Up to 100Mbps

UPLOAD: 100M/20M

In theory, satellite-powered wireless can give you the same speeds as fibre however, it may not be as reliable. Wireless internet is subject to the elements, meaning during a storm you may experience dropouts. It is a great redundancy option to have alongside a wired internet connection.


SUITABILITY: Back up connection or home office

SPEED: Up to 24Mbps (usually 10Mbps)


Did you know that ADSL is being phased out and will be completely replaced by the NBN network? We have published a few articles on how you can be prepared for the shutdown.

ADSL runs on copper lines, the same lines as telephone connections. It is a reliable option however, with ADSL the speed you experience will always fluctuate, depending on how many people in your area are using the internet via ADSL at the same time. It isn’t suitable for running voice services but could be a good backup internet option. ADSL is being phased out and soon won’t be an option.

So now that you have an overview of what’s available, how do you choose what’s right for your business? Our teams across MelbourneSydney and Brisbane can help!

We partner with Australia’s best internet providers and can help you set up the right Cybersecurity to keep your business safe online.

Get in touch with our sales team to learn more.