Once you’re connected to the NBN there’s a good chance you’re not going to look back. The NBN is often, for many people, much faster than the internet connection technologies it has replaced. The good news is that most NBN connections in 2019 are also as reliable as – if not more so – than the connections they replaced.

Take my place – we had 4G wireless for our home broadband before the NBN came – where we experienced frequent dropouts in service, pretty much a nightly experience around peak time. In the last month that we’ve been on the NBN with Aussie Broadband, we’ve had precisely two outages – one was planned (and scheduled for about 3am in the morning, so it didn’t affect us) and one was unplanned but resolved within about half an hour.

Whether you’re experiencing an outage or a slowdown on your NBN connection, I know only too well how frustrating it can be. Fortunately, resolving NBN problems is usually pretty easy, and this guide will walk you through common problems and what to do about them.

Provider Network Outages

As noted above, network outages are uncommon, and fortunately there’s not much you have to do when an outage happens. Once your provider is aware there’s an issue, you just wait for your provider to fix things up, and your connection will come back online.

If you have an alternative internet connection (e.g. your mobile phone), you can check your provider’s outage page for more information. Aussie Broadband has such a page that they update when outages happen, you can view it here.

You can also use the MyAussie app to keep an eye on your connection, perform some diagnostics, and monitor any outages. It’s a handy tool to have if your NBN connection goes offline.

Of course, if your NBN connection goes offline and some basic troubleshooting doesn’t help (e.g. power cycling your modem / router), it’s best to get in touch with your provider and see what’s going on.

My NBN is too slow

The most common complaint about NBN connections is speed. Everyone signs up to the NBN expecting a better, faster internet connection and it’s disappointing when that isn’t possible. However, for most connections, there’s things you can do inside your home to help rule out any issues:

Remember your speed tier – if you sign up for an NBN Basic 25Mbps plan, then your internet speed isn’t going to get any faster than that. You may find that streaming Netflix over such a plan may use most of your available bandwidth, which can make other activities – e.g. browsing the web or checking your email – a bit slower. If you regularly stream video, you might want to consider a faster plan if your network slows down too much. Fortunately, some providers make changing plans online very easy, and they can take effect very quickly.

Check the time of day – some NBN users will experience slightly slower speeds in the evening when most other users are online using their NBN connections. Therefore providers – such as Aussie Broadband – quote a ‘typical evening speed’ for the plans they sell. Some providers with cheaper plans may have slower evening speeds, and others that charge a little more may be able to promise a faster speed. If your provider isn’t up to your expectations, talk to them, find out what can be done, and look at the alternatives. Changing NBN providers is much easier than it was changing ADSL or Cable providers.

Check your connection type – NBN Fibre to the Node customers can be impacted by the distance between the Node and their property. Considerations such as the length of the copper cable and the condition of the copper cable can impact NBN connection speed. Often you can’t do a lot about this but talking to your NBN provider can help.

If connection quality is too poor, you may be able to resolve this with NBNCo. Most other NBN connection types are not affected by cable length / quality in the way that FTTN connections can be. However, this does not mean that other connection types may not still have their issues. For more information on the NBN connection types see our previous article here.

Check your router and WiFi setup – many times, your equipment can be the cause of NBN speed issues. Things like how your router is configured, the layout of your house, and where your router is placed can have an impact on speed. Aussie Broadband have several recommendations for diagnosing connection problems inside your home:

  • Try the simple things first – make sure your router is powered, all the cables are plugged in, and try a power cycle in the case of problems. It’s the old IT support adage – turn it off and back on again. You’d be amazed how often it fixes problems.
  • Run a speed test with a wired connection – this will help narrow down what may be causing your issues and confirm how fast your NBN connection can go.
  • Consider where your router is – it should be towards the centre of your home, or nearer to where most devices will be used. It should also be at least two meters above the floor but keep it somewhere accessible – you may need to easily see it to diagnose problems.
  • Some things in your house can degrade WiFi signal – large fish tanks, fridges, microwaves, washing machines, and even thick / concrete walls. There are ways around this, but good placement of your router will help these types of issues.
  • Consider your devices – higher bandwidth devices (like TVs or video games) might benefit from being connected over an Ethernet cable instead of WiFi. Also be careful using powerline Ethernet extenders – often these can be a bottleneck for your network connections.
  • Live in an apartment or a townhouse? If there’s lots of WiFi routers around you, your WiFi performance might not be great. Try and use a different channel or use Ethernet cables for key devices to avoid the issue.

How to solve the problem

The main thing to remember is not to give up; most NBN speed problems can be solved quite quickly and easily. Once your home setup is working well, and you can rule out any issues inside your home, there are only a few other variables.

Make sure you’re on the right speed tier for your family’s needs – a couple of devices will be fine on a lower speed tier, but if you’re streaming video, have a few smartphones and using a couple of laptops, you might benefit from a faster plan.

If there are speed problems outside your home, such as cabling issues, talk to your NBN provider. One of our writers – Phil – had a problem with his NBN connection and it was discovered there was a problem with the fibre between the street and his house. Once identified, the issue was resolved within two weeks in consultation between Phil’s provider and NBN Co – Phil didn’t have to do anything, and the issue was fixed for him.

While Phil was fortunate, not all issues can be solved this fast, or even be this easy to identify. The main thing to remember is that your provider is your gateway to the NBN, and if you’ve got problems, pick up the phone and call them, or email for support.

This article is one in a series of sponsored stories from Aussie Broadband, recognised by industry as Australia’s best NBN provider, two years running. Winner of Best Fixed Broadband Provider at the Edison Awards, 2018 and 2019.

Stock image via Shutterstock/Just Dance and Proxima Studio.