A closeup view of how the NBN connects to your home, and some of the networking issues it will pose.
[Update: We've posted a follow-up to this article, looking at who's responsible for what when you connect to the NBN].
As ditches are dug and the first few suburbs connect to the National Broadband Network, we're getting a clearer picture of what connecting will mean for your home.
We got a close-up look inside the guts of an NBN connection this week at a new home built at Doonside in Western Sydney. As a new estate, with a few months before the first homeowners are slated move in, it's more a look at what might be, if and when the NBN rolls down your street in the months and years to come.
One of the things we looked at is the of the box housing the connection points where the NBN connects to your home's LAN. We thought we'd post the photos for those interested in this sort of thing.
The photos below are of the two connection points at which your home will be connected to the NBN. The first is a small box outside the house where the fibre connects to the home.
The incoming point for fibre to the home: the creatively named Premises Connection Device (PCD)
The box you see in the photo below is located in a garage of the home we looked at. The fibre then makes its way to this location, where it plugs into the Network Termination Device. This is where the NBN connects to your home network.
Inside the garage: the Network Termination Device (NTD).
The black cable with the green plug at the right is the incoming fibre, connected to the Network Termination Device (NTD). From here, a cable joins the NTD to your home router, which is located out of shot to the right.
Note the existence of several data ports on the NTD box. Here there's one connection used, but the other ports could be used to connect to other service providers. For example, you might get your voice service from iPrimus and your data from Internode. Not necessarily a great way to take advantage of bundled pricing, but system has the ability.
The green plug is the incoming fibre. The yellow cable connects out to your router.
Pick your ISP. Four data ports means you can use multiple providers.
Tucked away to the left edge of the NTD are two voice ports - once copper is phased out, all NBN connected houses will have phones connected over the fibre network. We're told the second line is for things like personal alarm services.
With your phone now connected via the NBN, the battery (the box with the Warning sign on it in the second photo from the top) is there as a safety precaution in case you lose power. It's meant to provide a few hours of power. In the case of a power loss, a button lets you manually kick in the remaining stored power when you need it, so it doesn't drain in the middle of the night while you're asleep, for example.
From the NTD, data is connected to your home's router, seen in the picture below. From here, cables can be seen connecting the router back to patch panels (the panel at the far right in the picture below) and in the previous photo (second photo), and then on into the home's internal wiring.
There are three data connections coming out from this router. Those black cables are antenna lines.
The router closeup.
Things are clearly going to get interesting at this point. For an ideal, bells and whistles configuration like the one we saw, where multiple rooms are connected and using high bandwidth applications like video on demand, wiring your home is best, but will be obviously more expensive. The NBN representative we spoke to recommended the common Cat6 cabling, rather than older Cat5 for getting a home network NBN-ready. At this week's demonstration we heard numbers like $400-$500 mentioned, but we imagine some will beg to differ.
NBN representatives at the demonstration this week were happily recommending powerline networking as a cheaper alternative, which will put you closer to the $100 for a starter kit.
Likely some will decide they can't be bothered and go wireless instead.