This Is What A Fibre-To-The-Node NBN Cabinet Looks Like

Trying to find out when the National Broadband Network (NBN) will reach your area or what form it will take is little more than guesswork these days. But since the currently favoured model involves fibre-to-the-node and the use of VDSL to boost speeds on the "last mile" to your home or office, the chances are good one of these cabinets will be involved.

This Alcatel VDSL2 vectoring cabinet can support up to 384 lines. The model used in Australia measures 850 by 1150 by 500mm — the smallest design Alcatel sells anywhere in the world. At distances of 400 metres, speeds of 100Mbps for downloads and 40Mbps for uploads are said to be possible. Pity I live a lot more than 400 metres from the nearest exchange.


    So my mother doesnt have any broadband internet access (ADSL1 or 2).
    Under the old government she would have had the NBN about now.

    Her area isnt on the rollout schedule anymore.

    Ugh. This shit makes me angry.

    I was lucky enough to be in the rather small circle of NBN in my town that was connected before the election, the surrounding areas were due in short order, but that was simply shut down directly after... The rest of the town got hooked up to WiFi, so I'm wondering if they will even bother with these cabinets for them...?

    And here I was expecting it to be a boat!

    Last edited 01/07/14 8:23 am

    Pity I live a lot more than 400 metres from the nearest exchange.

    Well, that's why they're installing these cabinets, so you're closer to the "node".

    Not quite sure where they're going to put them all yet, should be an interesting shitfight with local councils.

      they need power as well yeah?

        Indeed they do which is causing a few issues too

        Yep and 8 batteries incase that power fails (act of god or something else). These need to be replaced every 4 years at some cost by the time you do it for the 75,000 cabinets they are talking about installing.......

        Ahhhhh NBN fibre to the home.... where did you go???

        Last edited 01/07/14 3:07 pm

      could the possibly be solar powered? err, no hang-on.. that's a dirty word for oztraya..

    Gonna be funny every time a car takes one of them out and 384 houses lose internet for a week

      The interesting thing is it doesnt necessarily even have to be anything related to the node that could screw with the service. Vectoring that Turnbull keeps on harping about only makes it good about 400m from the node.

      The thing is:

      1st : The trial at Woy Woy was conducted on 0.4mm gauge copper, yet the architectures deployed around the world by other ISP's use either 0.52mm or 0.64mm gauge. The reason is thicker wire carries signal better so vectoring does a lot more for bandwidth because signal carrying capacity is already there and vectoring eliminates noise on the line.

      2nd : I believe the thinner gauge copper has caused signal to attenuate more then in for example BT's FTTN networks. Evidence to support this claim may be found in 2 places

      - The initial Woy Woy Trial was a mere 100m from the node. If they were confident about the carrying capabilities wouldnt it have been better to collect data from a premises 400m away?

      - Also the 1000 node rollout now taking place, there are too many nodes...

      206,000 premises / 1000 nodes = 206 ports per node

      But (as this article also states) nodes can support up to 384 lines... Why then are we only using 206 ports per node? OK sure you allow for dwelling expansion but even using 300 ports with 84 spare would accommodate for such growth...

      206,000 / 300 ports = 687 nodes

      If the whole object of this is to be 'sooner, cheaper, more affordable' why are we investing in 313 nodes that we shouldn't need to serve the same amount of premises? The answer is simple, they're spending on more nodes so they can install them closer to premises in the 'trial' so they can quantify a false resultset and use it to justify deploying FTTN everywhere.

      3rd : The initial Woy Woy test was performed on only 1 premises and on a 'spare pair', I believe this is because it eliminates the possibility of alien crosstalk and FEXT + the extra attenuation accrued due to the sub standard copper gauge (hardly representative of real world).

    so they run optical cables to these cabinets from the exchange to around the neighbourhood ?
    and then run the existing copper from there to homes?

      Correct and it's a shit solution

      Yup - and fibre to the Premises also used cabinets to interchange the fibre cables. But it had the advantage of needing less of them thanks to longer run for fibre and not needing to be powered.

      The initial outlay (for FTTN) may be as much as 25% cheaper than FTTP however it's clear that the long term support required to replace the coper and power these boxes will over come this apparent saving within as little as 5 years.

    Well, I will not allow them to be installed out the front of my house, I will be putting up a fight. If everyone puts up a fight to prevent them from being installed, maybe they will realise that FTTP is the correct option for the NBN, not this half baked almost obsolete FTTN.

      No they wont because by that logic you wouldn't allow a GPON FDH cabinet to be installed in front of your house either (even though it is smaller and because FTTP is sort of 'looped' doesnt provide a point of failure).

        I'm under the impression that because they're smaller, don't require power and are far less likely to require maintenance it's quite feasible to put them below ground level with an access hatch.

          Your impression is a little bit off. These are no different to the Telstra RIM's installed in any new housing estate, they're all powered and have battery backup. Those magic green boxes can already provide the FTTN.

      Sadly, as they will be installed on Council land, and due to the deals that most State and Federal agencies have with Councils about use of Council land, chances are there will be nothing that you, or Council, will be able to do about the placement of these cabinets.

    I have two homes, one with NBN and one in a rural area obviously without. Sure the NBN is way faster at downloading movies but honestly for the cost to tax payers it's not worth it. For browsing the web you really can't notice the difference and when it coms to large file downloads like movies the difference is 5 minutes compared to half an hour. Half an hour really isn't that long a time to wait. I'm what you would call a large data downloader and both my internet plans are 500gb each, which i use a considerable amount of. Honestly the only thing good about the NBN is being able to send screen shots of how high you get on speedtest to your friends. FTTN can also have the support of later adding FTTP if need be and i think the current plan is the most logical one. Coming from someone who downloads a lot, has the NBN and also has internet in a rural area.

      That would be ok if websurfing and downloading large files were the only things the internet will ever be useful for. It's like saying that building the electricity network is not necessary because you will only use it for lights and candles are fine anyway.
      Also, upgrading from FTTN isn't really a stepping stone to FTTP since the FTTN cabinets are useless once you upgrade, they're expensive and you need a lot more of them.

      for the cost to tax payers it's not worth itIt's not worth it yet. The thing about the original design of the NBN was that it was planned with our future needs in mind, not necessarily our current needs. With high bandwidth cloud services becoming more prevalent our data transfer speed requirements are going to be going up in the next five years or so, not staying the same, particularly upload speeds. FTTP was designed as an investment, not a band-aid patch job on the current infrastructure like the FTTN plan.
      FTTN can also have the support of later adding FTTP if need beNot really. The infrastructure is totally different, so the cost of doing FTTN first and then FTTP has a much higher cost than just doing FTTP to begin with.

        agreed.. part of the big cost to the FTTN is running power to all these boxes, if it switches to FTTP the power is no longer required.. so there's a few billiion wasted right there..

        What future use? Nobody has yet come up for a reason to need 1000mbps to a home. sure, people can download the whole of GOT much faster, but the billions of dollars that will come from it (from labors harping about it) has not actually been divulged.

        So other than putting our IT industry out of business by allowing every small business in australia move their server to google/amazon/microsoft could, what other benefits will it have that will be around before LTE 5 or 6 makes it redundant.

      & what kind of uploader are you? ask anyone who runs a small biz that is technocentric & you'll get a far different response. the internet isn't just about downloading movies.

        I do Alpha and Beta testing for a large company in my spare time. I get given all sorts of cloud enabled gear to test and my biggest frustration is that uploading anything on a 1.5Mb connection is a complete waste of time.
        I agree, downloading is all well and nice, but actually accessing your data from you own host remotely is nigh on impossible through a residential asymmetrical connection.

      As a streamer, the better my upload, the higher quality my stream is for my viewers. Unfortunately, looks like upload speeds in Australia aren't really important, so I'm stuck with pretty low quality streams.

    I'm really tired of other people telling me what I do and do not need. The NBN wasn't all about speed. It was to replace old, crap copper with a decent solution that wasn't installed the cheapest way possible by a bunch of apes. When the Nation was cabled, it doesn't take much to imagine the international links being upgraded as usage skyrockets.

    Saying "Oh the NBN isn't that good anyway" is like saying an F1 car isn't that good when you put a Honda Civic engine in it.

    To all the people who talk about not having ADSL 1 or 2, I'm one of those, the Labour promised us the NBN I got excited, they got elected and my town was then too small to qualify. Admittedly I do have wireless, provided by the only carrier that we can access (again not NBN) which is Telstra - "Oh, yes Telstra, please let me pay massively inflated prices for a service that I can get cheaper if I move away from my family and job."

    My town lost our banks, hospital, library, there is no public transport and the nearest town with any of these things is 15ks away. I'm sorry? Please refer to the interent for borrowing books, booking drs appoinments, internet banking? Uh, we don't have the internet either (PS I still have friends on dial-up true fact). The digital divide was supposed to be bridged somewhat by the NBN and instead it's just driving a much bigger wedge.

    The day I see one of those boxes on my street I'm going to go out and kiss strangers...


      Yeah the thing is that wireless is still in line with providing FTTP and you would've been 1 of only 7% under the original scheme that would've had to use this solution.

      Why do i say this? Because you need both not one or the other. However if you consider the upgrade paths getting wireless/satellite to the people 'out in the boondocks' makes a whole lot more sense, think about it.

      If you provide fixed wireless to the people in remote area's and then run FTTP out there due to population increases or whatever what happens? You've had a fair amount of time to plan and collaborate with developers in the area setting out guidelines making it easier for FTTP to be rolled out while still providing a fixed wireless service/satellite that can be maintained even after FTTP has been deployed.

      If you deploy FTTN from the get go and then decide to upgrade to FTTP what happens? Firstly the deployment of nodes limits your options in terms of where you can deploy FDH's/ONT's which will determine how far you have to run fibre to the split (ONT) before going to premises (could be further then necessary inuring extra cost). Secondly Most of the hardware inside Nodes has to be chucked as it's not necessary in a FTTP deployment (vectoring, active cooling, battery bank) which represents a waste of money. Thirdly even after all this you STILL have to provide mobile capability somehow to people in the area...

      Furthermore if you're looking at why Telstra can charge such exorbant prices why don't you go and ask your coalition friends why they privatized the business (which they openly admit was a mistake) without structural separation from wholesale. The same coalition friends who are now implementing a network designed with one thing in mind only, Rupert Murdoch.

      I'll forgive you for being completely blind to this since there has been a censor placed on the ABC and (naturally) throughout the Murdoch media empire to propagate the falsehood that the MTM approach is worth anything. The internet is the only way to get any info presented without political agenda anymore, however you and your friends dont have the capability so ill save you the search time:

      Examine Labors original plan (NBN): 93% FTTP, 7% wireless / satelite
      as compared to the new coalition plan (MTM): 26% FTTP, 44% FTTN/dp/B, 30% HFC...

      Huh? HFC? that wasn't in the original April 2013 plan but it popped up in the strategic review, furthermore Simon Hackett founder of Internode/iiNet and one of the biggest critics on using HFC now suddenly starts saying it's viable after being recruited (paid off) to the NBNCo board, What's goin on there?

      It's quite simple really, under a true FTTP model despite the vastly superior capabilities of the technologies present Rupert Murdoch would have:
      a. Lost all his pay TV subscribers to IPTV services (not necessarily his IPTV service)

      b. Had to start with a completely new ISP userbase, because FTTP wouldve been near ubiquitous replacing HFC putting him in direct competition with the likes of other (cheaper priced) ISP's.

      Basically it would've nearly destroyed his business model but it was definitely still viable for him because he still owns pretty much most of the media content providers. People aren't going to want to stop reading (or seeing) a specific reporters work just because the delivery method changed. He would've weathered an initial loss true but it would've potentially revitalized the industry and provided consumer interaction on a scale never before witnessed.

      But as always people want guarantees and money, Murdoch is no exception and just like an incumbent telco he wants to squeeze as much money out of his asset as possible sound familiar? *cough Telstra*.

      He's also got a long standing relationship with the coalition through the IPA, making a deal with them would be nothing to fret over, so that's precisely what happened. At the end of 2012 news corp media and the libs started walloping the crap out of the NBN progress (despite it not being that bad) and the labor office at the time. Evidence?

      Kind of one sided don't you think?

      Not once did they delve into the past of Tony Abbott but they did go around plastering inter-party politics On the Front page of every newspaper they own. I'm sorry but IIRC the now comms minister Malcolm Turnbull was party leader of the liberals and Tony Abbott did the same thing julia did to kev and kev did to julia to become party leader... Did we hear much about that? Nope...

      Fast track to the present, now all of a sudden we've got HFC in the plan what does this mean for Murdoch? The MTM plan actually increases the footprint of HFC networks from what they are currently, this has the effect of:
      - increasing his media presence.
      - earning more from foxtel.
      - earning more from government subsidies.

      The industry is headed towards FTTP without a doubt and it's impossible to prevent, but by interfering in this infrastructure overhaul Murdoch as provided himself with a time buffer to:

      a. grow his market presence in IPTV
      b. secure additional funds both from government subsidies and (potentially) more pay tv users.
      c. implement structural changes within his own business to facilitate the switch to content on demand

      He doesn't care about the Australian people or who's in government, only that his legacy news corp stands to benefit. It was never about getting people better internet it was all about providing him with a means to transfer his media presence from a traditional distribution model to that of a digital content on demand one.

      It will be felt hardest by people like you... Hooray we finally get FTTN... But basic services used by smart homes + the growth of the entertainment industry (to using 4K) require that we now have highly reliable 100Mbps+ connections with low latency /contention...

      Basically you and other people not 'in the know' about the technology have been conned... brilliantly. *hat off to the coalition and Murdoch*

      Meanwhile Abbott's list of failures continues to grow,

    Labour had a good NBN plan. But Labour has also spent us into a black hole which we may not be able to escape.

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