Preparing For nbn™ Sky Muster™

Are you ready for Sky MusterTM This article will help you cover the bases, including:


Q: Who will co-ordinate this part of install?  A: nbn, via your chosen ISP (provider)

Most Sky MusterTM dishes are more compact than earlier satellite installations and more akin to a large Foxtel dish.  Customers don’t have much control over dish installation – nbn will allocate (at the time of order) which dish your premises will get, determined for your location -although you can suggest to installer WHERE generally on the roof might suit your office setup most.


Example of Sky Muster Satellite Dish

There are three sizes of dish; 80cm, 120cm and 180cm; and two transmitters’ (TRIA’s); a 3W and a 6W. That makes six possible combinations. Well over 90% of premises will get the 80cm/3w combination.

The three dishes have different mounting capabilities. The 80cm can go on a wall, on a tin roof or on the gutter of a tile roof. The 120cm can go on a wall or on a tin roof. The 180cm is a pretty special size that won’t be used much, but it’s a non-penetrating ground mount.

(more detailed SkyMuster Satellite Installation info also here)

NTD (nbn connection box) INSTALLATION

Who will co-ordinate this part of install?  A: nbn, via your chosen ISP (provider)

This schematic of a typical Sky MusterTM installation shows the NTD and a WIFI router.



Q: Who you will deal with?  A: your chosen ISP (provider) and nbn installer

The Sky MusterTM installation may be an opportunity to rethink how your existing home network is configured and where the key equipments are located.

  • Is your current modem in the best location?
  • Is it handy to your WIFi router?
  • Where is your printer?
  • Is the WIFI router in the best location to provide coverage throughout your home?

BASIC FACTS to keep in mind:

– The provisional maximum cable distance from the Sky MusterTM satellite dish to the Network Termination Device (NTD) is 50m.

– The nbn™ standard practice is to wall mount the Sky MusterTM NTD to keep it out of the way of damage, tripping hazard etc. However it is possible to desk mount (discuss this with the installer on the day of installation).

– The NTD must be adjacent to a power socket.

– A special blue coloured, single coaxial cable from the dish will terminate at a wall plate.

– The Sky MusterTM NTD consumes around 40W continuous and is quite warm/ hot to the touch.

NB More details will be available in the nbn™ User Guide – Sky MusterTM connection. (Link will be added as soon as this becomes available.)

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.16.16 AM



Q: Who you will deal with?  A: Your ISP (provider) and IT expert

We now have a specific post about Sky Muster routers here

*Before making changes, always talk to your provider and follow their advice.

Your existing Satellite Router
For those who are already connected to the nbn™ Interim Satellite Service (ISS), the transition should be straightforward. It will be something like; unplug your router from the ISS modem and plug it into UNI-D1 on the new Sky MusterTM NTD.

It might be necessary to factory reset your router; in the case that there were changes to the routers WAN configuration. Check your router manufacturer manual for how to do this. Configure your router for Dynamic IP, which will almost certainly be the factory default setting. Some RSP’s may require usernames and passwords configured for the PPPoE. After a factory reset you will need to re-establish your WIFI network.

Your RSP will assist with any troubleshooting of the new Sky MusterTM connection. This support will work best if you are using the router models that they provide.

You may also take this opportunity to upgrade your router, prior to Sky MusterTM service installation.  (Your RSP will have a range of suitable routers available.)

Upgrading your router

It may be worthwhile upgrading your current router if it is old. Current routers can offer more features that may better serve your network requirements. (Discuss this with your RSP in conjunction with your trusted technical advisor).

It may be useful to install Gargoyle on your router. Gargoyle is a free router firmware that can be installed on certain routers. Gargoyle provides tools to both measure and conserve your precious monthly Sky MusterTM plan quota. It may sound complicated, but if you can perform a firmware upgrade on a router, you can install and run Gargoyle.

BIRRR Info Sheet on Gargoyle

Late model routers also offer improved WIFI and may support both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WIFI bands. It is worth noting that 2.4Ghz generally provides better and wider coverage in a large home.

Late model routers may offer faster LAN ports (1,000Mbps), USB ports(s) that may support a USB printer and or a hard drive. These devices may then be accessed by anyone on the network.

If you would prefer to LAN connect your devices (rather than WIFI), you may need to install a switch to accommodate the extra LAN ports. Your technical advisor can provide further information.

Common Questions:

Will my old router work on SKY MUSTERTM?

2009 saw the arrival of 802.11n WIFI, which delivered 300n and WIFI speeds in excess of 100Mbps. WIFI of this speed, is fine for a 25Mbps SkyMuster™ connection.

If your existing WIFI router is less than 5-6 years old, 300n WIFI (minimum), has a WAN port (blue) and a 1-4 10/100Mbps LAN ports (yellow); you’d be unlucky to find that you cannot successfully connect your network to the 25/5 SkyMuster™ service. It may look something like this:


A typical 300n 10/100 4 LAN port router


Even older 802.11g routers which first arrived in 2003, will work, albeit with slower WIFI.

Why buy a newer, faster router?

The key reason to buy a faster late model router (as indicated earlier), is if you ‘do a lot’ with your home network e.g it is connected to many client devices, includes a media server and/or fast hard drives, printer(s), scanners and the like; where 1000Mbps LAN ports and faster Wireless AC will speed connections and data transfers within the network.

Late models routers may also support a printer or a hard drive (for data storage) via one or two USB ports.

Note:     99% of ADSL routers are unsuitable for any nbn™ service.

Any new router from your RSP or shop, will be supplied with a suitable Ethernet cable to connect the nbn™ NTD to your WIFI router.

Discuss your network needs now

Now is an ideal time and opportunity to discuss your evolving network needs with both your RSP and/ or trusted technical advisor.

However (and this is the important bit), a late model router is unlikely to speed up your connection to the outside world via SkyMuster™, unless the existing router is too old, faulty or poorly configured.

The router WIFI evolution timeline:





Q: Who you will deal with?  A: Your ISP (provider)

It is anticipated that Sky MusterTM will provide an excellent quality voice telephony service.

Whilst users experience some slight delay due to the satellite latency, familiarity with the ISS VoIP service suggests that this is rarely a problem in daily conversations.

Sky MusterTM provides a dedicated VoIP (TC-1) channel of 150 kbps, rather than the 60 kbps channel available on nbn™ ISS. This translates to improved voice quality and clarity.

Those with an existing ISS VoIP service should find that their existing services transition seamlessly.

To take full advantage of the higher bandwidth VoIP channel available on Sky MusterTM offer, your RSP will likely recommend some changes to your VoIP appliance configuration. Discuss this with your RSP.

Given the benefits of a low cost, reliable all weather telephone service via Sky MusterTM it is anticipated that the take up of new VoIP services might increase.

Should you wish to establish VoIP on Sky MusterTM a typical VoIP installation would look something like this.



The diagram shows a Netcomm Wireless NF5 router as used by SkyMesh. This versatile router provides both an analogue VoIP port for your phone or cordless phone and a USB port that may be used to support either a 3/ 4G modem internet service (auto fail-over internet back-up) or a shared network hard drive.

It is suggested that you discuss VoIP requirements with your respective RSP and or your technical advisor.

You may keep your existing landline as this service will continue to be maintained for Sky MusterTM customers as part of the Universal Service Obligation. You may find that keeping the landline for incoming calls only and using VoIP for outgoing calls may be a useful cost benefit compromise. Two phone services for less than the price of one.


Who you will deal with?  A: QLD – your provider (if they offer an educational plan), NSW – the NSW Education Dept/your distance education school, other states – to be advised.

Whilst this feature will be accessed by relatively few customers, and not all details are currently known, it will likely require a few changes to your current distance education internet configuration.

The distance education network is not connected to your standard home network.


Additional routers and equipment may be necessary.

Your RSP may assist with the initial service installation, router provisioning and equipment configuration.

To print to a single central printer accessible from both networks, you may be able to use Google Cloud Print (or similar).

You can read more about the Education Port in the BIRRR document What is the nbn™ education port ?

NB Without fully understanding the service restrictions on the education port, it is difficult to advise further at this time.


A typical station school room

Kindly prepared and illustrated for BIRRR by John Kitchener 28/2/2016

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your Sky Muster connection and equipment needed. 

Alternate Voice Telephony

Alternate Voice Telephony

Everyone is familiar with landline and mobile phones. There are a number of alternative voice technologies that you may use over your internet connection. They can provide a reliable alternative or back-up voice service and they are inexpensive.


VoIP can be an exhausting topic. In a nutshell it is a relatively cheap and reliable way of voice communication and can work well over satellite and other internet connections. You may use a standard analogue phone handset, or a dedicated VoIP cordless phone system etc. VoIP is available over the Interim Satellite Service and an improved VoIP service  is now available over the Long Term Satellite Service (Sky Muster). Click here to read more on VOIP over Sky Muster.

For more details regarding a VoIP service, talk with your RSP or arrange for a VoIP service with a VoIP only service provider.


You may use Skype for voice calls, with the Skype app installed on your smart phone or computer. You can call home and mobile numbers for a small cost. See You may also purchase a Skype cordless phone which LAN cable connects to your internet router. See

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider, regarding your own connection issues.

Prepared  for BIRRR by John Kitchener 7/1/2016

Satellite Speed Tips


The rule of thumb is that if you get good speed tests first thing in the morning and last thing at night (when most people are asleep) but you get terrible speeds at peak times, then that’s congestion and you probably don’t need to spend time troubleshooting.

Nowadays, bad congestion on the ISS means that your RSP has congestion on their network. There shouldn’t be a huge difference in speed test results between peak time and off-peak time (since NBN co spent $18.3 Million on upgrades early this year and are now enforcing their ISS ‘Fair Use Policy’).

If your RSP tells you that the ISS is congested and nothing can be done, ask them for their most current nbn Interim Satellite – Performance Report chart.  If your RSP’s chart shows their performance is much lower than the average of all RSPs, that’s likely to be the problem and you may as well not bother troubleshooting.

If you get slow speeds all the time, it’s likely the problem is at your home, so here are 14 STEPS to try before calling your RSP. (It’s a good idea to do methodical tests and make detailed notes while you’re trying to find the cause of speed problems. You might like to take screen shots of the speed test results you get, or create an account with and store them all online.)

  1. First check that no one else in your home is downloading or streaming anything. If you have teenagers, ask them to take a break from using the service and shut down any downloads and close YouTube. YouTube’s new auto-play feature is a big data thief.
  2. Next check your usage to make sure you’re not speed limited for exceeding your Data Allowance. (Sounds simple, but RSPs get lots of calls from speed limited customers).
  3. Run some speed tests at and manually choose a Telstra or Optus Sydney-based server. Your service lands in Sydney no matter where in Australia you live. Telstra and Optus have good servers and lots of bandwidth for their speed tests, that’s why we recommend them.
  4. Power cycle everything, including your Gilat modem, your router (if you have one) and your computer(s) – turn everything OFF and then back ON in THAT ORDER. A monthly reboot of everything often makes a performance difference. Do some more speed tests and see if that made a difference.
  5. What’s the weather like? Bad storms and heavy cloud cover may reduce speeds, but only a little. That’s also the case at your Beam’s Gateway – Kalgoorlie, Broken Hill and Rosebery. That shouldn’t be an excuse for your RSP all the time. Wait until the weather clears and run some more speed tests.
  6. Download and install a fresh copy of a browser you haven’t used before. If you use Windows and Internet Explorer, try Chrome or Firefox. If you’re a Mac owner using Safari, try Firefox. Sometimes browsers get clogged up with cookies and other stuff and that can affect your speed.
  7. Windows users should Google how to set your computer into ‘Safe Mode with Networking’, and also how to get out of Safe Mode. Reboot your Windows computer in Safe Mode with Networking and run some more speed tests. That starts your computer with the bare basic software, so if you have anti-virus or some other program that’s slowing your computer, speed tests in Safe Mode will reveal that.
  8. If you’re using the service via Wi-Fi, plug your computer directly into your router with a network cable and run some speed tests. If that solves the speed problem, your Wi-Fi signal may be poor, or you have a dud router (technical term) or the Wi-Fi device drivers in your computer may need to be updated. You should ask your local computer specialist (or a young relative) for help with device driver updates as it’s tricky if you’re not sure what you’re doing.
  9. Plug your computer directly into the Gilat modem with a network cable, bypassing your router (if you have one) then reboot everything. It’s best to wait for the modem to be rebooted first then reboot your computer. Do some more speed tests, and that will tell you if your router is causing speed problems.
  10. Try a different network cable, just in case that’s the problem. If you have a few of them in your home, try them all just in case you have a dud cable. Network cables lull you into a false sense of security by rarely being faulty, then when you least expect it, there they are!
  11. Try another computer (if you have one), plugged directly into the Gilat modem, in Safe Mode with Networking if it’s a Windows computer. More speed tests will tell you if you have a computer problem rather than a satellite service problem. ***
  12. Reach around the back of the Gilat modem and locate the connectors for the two black co-ax cables. Make sure they are finger tight and not loose. Do the same if you have a wall plate for the two cables. Don’t put a spanner or pliers on the connectors as a heavy hand could break the connectors and that would mean a service call. ‘Finger tight’ is the go.
  13. Take a look (from the ground) at the satellite dish and make sure there are no trees or branches close to the dish. Cockatoos chewing the cables usually take the service offline rather than making it slow, but it can’t hurt to check for obstructions or any obvious damage. Do not climb on the roof, do not go anywhere near the dish, do not knock it out of alignment!

Advanced Troubleshooting

We recommend doing this step while you’re on the phone with Support (at least for the first time)

  1. Occasionally static electricity builds up around the dish (it’s more complex than that, but that’s the simple version) and causes issues. Before you start, mark one or both of the black co-ax cables with masking or electrical tape so you know which one plugs in where. They are not interchangeable. Gently undo the connectors from the back of the Gilat modem with your fingers (don’t use a spanner or pliers please) and hold one cable in each hand.

If you can’t get them off with your fingers, skip this step as it’s not worth damaging the connectors.

If you can, you’ll see there’s a small, delicate copper signal wire sticking out in the middle of the connector. Gently touch the two signal wires together and hold for a few seconds. (Don’t press them together with force or you could bend them.) Touching them together will drain the static electricity, according to Optus. When you put the connectors back in place, make sure you put them back where they were because they are not interchangeable. Tighten them finger tight, don’t use your teeth or a spanner or pliers.

If you don’t solve the speed problem using these steps, you can forward your notes and your speed test results to your RSP and say “I tried all these things, what’s next?”.


*Report compiled by Paul Rees, Skymesh.

**SkyMesh chart –

*** SkyMesh has miniature test computers we can send out to customers if the problem is evading a solution.

Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your own connection issues.

Satellite Types

What type of Satellite Installation do I have?


There are several different satellite services currently operational.  This can lead to some confusion on the type of satellite installed. The information below helps differentiate the differences in Satellite Installations.

LTSS – Long Term Satellite Service NBN – began installing April 2016 – all below satellite types are eligible for a NEW installation.  LTSS is also referred to as SkyMuster or nbn™ Satellite. Apply via one of the providers listed here.

ISS – Interim Satellite Service NBN,  Dates Installed 2011-2013 – Uses a 1.2m Dish with Gilat Logo & Gilat Skyedge II Modem. From now until this service is replaced, equipment is owned by NBN & therefore covered under repair / replacement where reasonably required. ISS services will be turned off on 28th February 2017 and all customers MUST migrate to LTSS before then.

NSS – NBN Satellite Subsidy Scheme , dates Installed July 2014 – November 2015.   0.84m dish with IPSTAR logo & IPSTAR icon modem.

ABG – Australian Broadband Guarantee Program Satellite, dates installed 2007 – 2011.  Equipment did have a 3 year warranty which has now expired, faulty equipment has to be repaired at owner’s cost. 0.8m dish with IPSTAR logo.  (Please note this service did also include some Optus Satellite Services via several ISP’s with different modems and dishes.)

Optus Satellite – Dates Installed 1992 – current, only available through Optus.  Optus are currently not a NBN Satellite provider.

Telstra Satellite – November 2014 – Current, only available through Telstra.  Base plans are 1GB / $69Telstra are currently not a NBN Satellite provider.

Telstra Broadband Satellite + Telstra Bigpond Two Way Satellite – Pre 2007 – October 2014 – Prior to these services ceasing Telstra offered free roll over to their new commercial service (listed above), base plans were 1GB / $69.   Telstra are currently not a NBN Satellite provider.

Telstra Statement ‘NBN Co is scheduled to start offering commercial services using their long-term satellite from April 2016 and is yet to confirm which addresses will be covered by the new service. We will assess this option for delivering satellite broadband to our customers in the future. At this time we have no plans to withdraw our Telstra Broadband Satellite service and contract terms remain in place for customers. Please contact the satellite team on 1800 210 027 to discuss your individual service.’

As a rule it is always recommended to discuss what Satellite Service you are using with your satellite service provider.

ALL satellite customers will be eligible for LTSS / Sky Muster / nbn satellite (regardless of their current satellite connection type) and will need to organise this through a nbn satellite service provider.  Currently Optus & Telstra have made no announcements regarding participation as NBN Satellite Providers .  Customers can choose any nbn Satellite provider for connection, they do not have to use the same provider they have used for previous Satellite connections.

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your service provider regarding your own connection issues and best plans available.

Footnote: All information compiled by Kristy Sparrow in consultation with NBN for BIRRR and is current as at 31st October 2016.