nbn Fixed Wireless Congestion

What is Congestion ?

Congestion on a nbn Fixed Wireless connection can result in your service slowing down during peak time periods. nbn Fixed Wireless has a finite design capacity and when everyone wants to stream video (termed high concurrency) in the evening on a tower, that is close to design capacity, then some congestion will ensue.  nbn are working to ensure a minimum 6Mb/s peak time experience by the end of the 2018.  Other causes of congestion include too many users on a tower, how a providers CVC (the Connectivity Virtual Circuit) is managed or a tower in need of an upgrade.

Another key reason for slow nbn performance is your home equipment that is either supplied by your RSP or yourself. Contact your RSP to ensure that this equipment is best configured for your use.

NB: nbn Fixed Wireless congestion due to tower overload is NOT widespread. The vast majority of fixed wireless customers enjoy a congestion free experience.

Check out WhistleOut’s tips on how to speed up your connection here and the BIRRR Guide on how to troubleshoot your fixed wireless connection here

You can also try activating a second port on your service with a different provider, such as Aussie Broadband, to see if your service improves. Aussie Broadband will offer a no contract 30 day trial to enable you to see if your old provider has the congestion issue, or if the issue is with nbn.

Whirlpool Discussion on Fixed Wireless Congestion

Whirlpool List of Congested nbn Wireless Towers – please note this is only a guide to congested towers, that has been compiled from Whirlpool Users experiences.

If you are having issues with your nbn Fixed Wireless Service, your first point of contact should always be your provider.

If your provider does not get the issue resolved, in certain cases BIRRR (and providing you have tried to help by following the tips above) can escalate your issue, please complete this form:www.tinyurl.com/BIRRRnbnFWfault

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with your RSP regarding your own connection issues.  Thanks to John Kitchener for assistance in compiling this document.   This page was updated on 17th July 2018.

nbn Fixed Wireless – Non Standard Installations

Fixed Wireless: NON-STANDARD INSTALLATIONS

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The following are some notes regarding nbn Fixed Wireless non – standard installations.

Please remember that each non-standard install is assessed on a case-by-case basis by nbn, nbn are currently reviewing their non standard install protocols. Current protocols can be found here under Non Standard Install Processes. Some of the non-standard installs pictured on the BIRRR website may no longer be approved by nbn.

In the event that the ‘standard installation’ procedure fails, the next steps are:

  1. Check that the installer has tried to get a strong enough signal on all areas of the roof of the main residence or the premises/ shelter where you wish the nbn equipment to be installed.
  2. Ask if the installer has checked in all directions, in the case that there may be other local nbn sites. If the answer is no, please request this or discuss it with the installer.
  3. Ask the installer if there is any other location on your property where the signal may be strong enough to connect.
  4. Ask if the installer has tried a 3 metre mount to get a stronger signal at the locations. If the installer does not have a 3 metre mount, please request that they return and try again with a 3 metre mount. You may need to make a new appointment with your service provider for this as well. Note: A 3m mount can only be installed on tin rooves with a pitch of <30°
  5. Indicate whether you are prepared to take other steps (at your own expense) to get a service. Make sure you have approval from nbn before carrying out any work for a non standard installation. For example:
    • Build a shelter specifically to house the equipment and then relay the data to your main location / homestead. Note: A wireless relay of the data will be required, if the total cable length from Outdoor Unit (ODU) to Indoor Unit (IDU) run is greater than 100m. See note below regarding Wireless Relays. nbn currently mandate a 240v supply for the fixed wireless NTD. The nbn wireless NTD consumes 25 watts. nbn are looking into other power supply options for rural users.
    • Dig a trench to take cable from one building where signal is sufficient, back to the main location on your property. It must be trenched and the cable run through White Communications Conduit. The maximum cable run between the outdoor unit and the indoor unit that nbn provides is 70m (Category 5 cable) or 100m (Category 6 cable).
    • Install a tower / pole to install the equipment on.                                                     Note: The installer needs to accurately identify the location with photos, latitude/longitude etc, plus height of ODU to achieve a suitable signal.
    • Use a cherry picker or similar equipment to provide access to the location where the installation might be achieved.

6. Ask if the installer has any advice for how to get a sufficiently strong signal anywhere on your property

7. Ask if the installer knows whether your neighbours have an installed service and, if so, what the difference is between your location and theirs.

8. Specifically ask the installer not to log the job as a Service Qualification failure, but to log it as a non-standard installation if they are not able to complete a non-standard installation appointment on the day.

9. If all efforts on the day still do not work, you will need to call your service provider to arrange a new non-standard appointment. It is important that you are clear with the service provider that you need an appointment for a non-standard installation.

10.  In the event that all installation attempts fail, you may be able to access a neighbour’s nbn service. If applicable, you may wish to approach your neighbours and ask if they are willing to allow you to order a second service, at your expense to their location. nbn Fixed Wireless supports up to four (4) separate services to one set of installed equipment. If that is OK with you and your neighbour, you may then be able to relay the service to your own residence via a wireless link. There is commercially available equipment that operates wirelessly and may be able to relay the nbn service to your location, provided your neighbours are willing. nbn does not provide this equipment and is not able to guarantee the results.

11. It is also possible to get a second NTD installed at another location / property in the case that this is needed (for example if the four data ports on the installed equipment are being used or your neighbour would prefer not to have your equipment located in the same place as theirs). This can be done by asking your service provider to get a second location ID assigned to a location / premises so that the nbn equipment can be installed

12. Installers are sub-contractors to nbn and may be of varied experience. The majority of the installers are seasoned professional contractors and take this role very seriously. If you believe that you are not getting a professional experience or that the installer does not present themselves in an acceptable way, please let your service provider know so that nbn can track and improve installer behaviour and the installation experience. nbn manage the performance of the installers and are always keen to hear when there are issues so they can help to identify and improve poor experiences and poor behaviour. nbn instructions are to always do everything installers can to help an end user get the Fixed Wireless service, if possible.

WIRELESS RELAYS

A wireless gateway or bridge can span up to 50km with direct line of sight.  The gateways  can be set up before being sent out.  Then all the customer has to do is find a good location for antenna and run some cable to power point (240 volt power must be supplied) and turn the unit on. If it’s under 200 to 400 meters you only need one if its over 400 meters then it is recommended to use two, one as an access point and the other as a station.  Wireless Gateways are generally under $300 per unit.  A wireless relay can be supplied and installed by telecommunications specialists, or they or can be shipped out with full instructions so people with a bit a knowledge and handy man skill can do the install themselves.

You can read more about wireless relays here: Using a WIFI Bridge to achieve an nbn Fixed Wireless connection and learn about how to set one up with some of the stories on our Stories and Testimonials Page. 

Please note that some of these stories and connections would not be allowed under the new protocols for nbn non-standard fixed wireless installations. Each case will be reviewed by nbn and we encourage end users wishing to do a non standard installation to contact their chosen provider.

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Fixed Wireless Gateway

For more information on Wireless Relays Contact your nearest installer / technician from the BIRRR list here or from Telco Antennas

PLEASE NOTE: If the non-standard fixed wireless service has trouble after installation and needs repairs or fine tuning, installers must be SAFELY able to access the location. The means to achieve this must be borne by the customer.

Useful BIRRR Fact Sheets for Non Standard Installations:

BIRRR members stories on achieving nbn Fixed Wireless:

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with nbn or your ISP regarding your own connection issues.  Thanks to nbn for assistance in compiling this document.  Information has been obtained from nbn, Skymesh, Whirlpool forums and BIRRR members. This page was updated on 15th July 2018.

Problems with your NBN connection?

Until now, BIRRR has spent considerable time troubleshooting nbn issues – we now ask that these issues are directed to NBN or your provider. It doesn’t mean we don’t care, or can’t help if you continue having issues after you have tried these alternate contacts.

NBN now has a new ‘specialised regional support team’  inside the existing nbn contact centre which customers can call directly, dealing with a wide range of issues. BIRRR welcomes this improvement, as we have consistently called for this contact centre to be created. We also appreciate that NBN has acknowledged the work the BIRRR team has done up until now.

We are looking forward to spending more of our time advocating for RRR communication needs, rather than troubleshooting. BIRRR encourages providers to follow NBNs lead and establish their own specific RRR contact centres.


For ‘GETTING CONNECTED’ PROBLEMS

  • Not sure what type of NBN connection you can get? Visit here and type in your address (you may have to drag the marker over your house).
  • If you are ‘on the fringe’ of a footprint(eg just outside a Fixed Wireless area and are seeking to get fixed wireless) then you can contact NBN and ask to be reclassified. You will need to provide them with your address and GPS coordinates (Find your GPS via Google Maps here)
  • Your address is not there? You can contact NBN and ask to be reclassified. NBN’s engineers will then evaluate your situation and potentially change your designated nbn technology to fixed wireless. You will need to provide them with your address and GPS coordinates (Find your GPS via Google Maps here)

CONTACT NBN at 1800 OUR NBN (1800 687 626) or send an email to info@nbnco.com.au

 NB: the nbn co call centre will not be able to help with tower/nbn activation dates, nor will the BIRRR team. The ‘nbn co check your address’ site has a date of service available.

For INSTALLATION PROBLEMS:

  • Cancelled/Postponed installations?  Contact NBN and report your problem! NBN have set up new procedures and are trying to be more helpful.
  • Installer fails an install?If you feel that they could have tried harder (different locations on your property, tried a 3m mast etc)  Contact NBN.
  • Equipment is installed, but not working.  Try the power cycle routine (see here). Try the different ports on your NBN box, power cycle in between swaps. If still not working contact your service provider (RSP). Make sure you get a ticket number.

 For CONNECTION PROBLEMS:

  1. If you don’t have a working connection, please try a power cycle routine once with a computer plugged directly into the NBN modem. See here to see how to do a power cycle correctly (the article is about SkyMuster, but the principle is the same). If you have a SkyMuster connection check here for further details.
  2. If you are still offline check the service status pages offered by SkyMesh who lists unplanned outages here, and Iinet  who list scheduled maintenance events here, to make sure your problem is not a widespread problem. Activ8me Facebook page and the ANT Facebook page also list outages when they know about them.
  3. You can also ring the NBN hotline for SkyMuster outages. They will tell if a beam is down, an earth station (many beams) is down or the outage is national
  4. If you are offline and it is not a widespread problem, please contact your RSP (service provider), make sure you get a ticket number. Send an email (if you can) to your RSP support about the problem, so they know it exists, especially if the callback queues are long (if the queues are long, it means that many customers have a problem).
  5. Contact your service provider (RSP) when you have problems with your speed, dropouts, excessive data usage.

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If you have tried the options above and you still need help either post in the BIRRR Facebook group or  send an email to birrraus@gmail.com


nbn co recently announced:

  • call centre policy and protocols have changed so that satellite end users will not be referred immediately to their RSP.
  • nbn’s call centre will now be able to provide basic network outage information so that callers will at the very least know if the network is down in their area.
  • set up ‘a dedicated regional support team inside this call centre to handle rural addressing issues, location I.D generation, non-standard fixed wireless installs, or other issues that people living in regional, rural and remote areas experience’.
  • nbn will also incorporate this approach into its official Facebook page, nbn Australia.

Announcement from NBN about their SkyMuster issues (Nov 2016):

‘By now you have no doubt heard about Sky Muster, nbn’s $1.8 billion custom-built broadband satellite delivering fast internet to the bush. While nbn has heard many stories of people having a great Sky Muster experience, we have also heard your concerns. These concerns are something nbn takes very seriously and the company wants to directly address them here. 

nbn is currently implementing a satellite service improvement programme, which is being led by a committed task force to address and resolve the issues identified. Some of the corrective action already undertaken includes software fixes to reduce connection times and configuration updates to improve the stability of the service. This work is ongoing and has seen a substantial improvement in network stability.

nbn has implemented changes to our call centre and social media processes which means we are now providing network information directly to end users as it becomes available. We have also set up a dedicated regional support team in our call centre to handle regional-specific queries. In addition, nbn is working with our retail providers and delivery partners to help improve the installation process and ensure the number of rescheduled and missed appointments is minimised.

The Sky Muster technology is breaking new ground and as with any new technology, particularly one as complex as satellite broadband, there are issues early in the roll-out that need to be worked through.

nbn acknowledges that we need to get this right as soon as possible and we are working hard to do just this as we ramp up to connect more than 10,000 premises a month to Sky Muster.’  (source: nbn co )

BIRRR in the BIG SMOKE – a fortnight of action (MEDIA RELEASE: November 2, 2016)

PDF of RELEASE: BIRRR in the BIG SMOKE – a fortnight of action (November 2, 2016)

BIRRR IN THE BIG SMOKE

A chance to take the Data Drought battle to the major decision makers over the past fortnight saw BIRRR representatives head to Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane last week, taking in awards events, roundtable discussions, national forums and meetings with ministerial staff.

Admin team members for lobby group ‘Better Internet for Rural Regional and Remote Australia’, Kristy Sparrow and Kylie Stretton, represented rural internet users across the country as they addressed the NFF National Congress and shared concerns with Ministerial advisors at Parliament House.  Fellow admins Julie Stott attended the ACCAN roundtable in Sydney, while Amanda Salisbury joined Kristy for nbn video hookup from Brisbane.

Kristy took to the stage in a panel discussion on ‘Telecommunications in the Bush’, before a large crowd at the NFF annual congress alongside Iñaki Berroeta (Vodafone), Bill Morrow (CEO, NBN Co) and Senator Fiona Nash (Minister for Regional Development, Minister for Local Government & Territories Minister for Regional Communications).

She introduced the BIRRR group to those gathered, explaining its history, purpose and actions.

“BIRRR is a community of volunteers that help guide Tripe R people through the bush telecommunications ‘jungle’.  We have contributed over 8000 volunteer hours and filled a large gap that no one else seems to want to tackle. We work alongside all interested parties to highlight issues and to offer solutions where possible,” Kristy told the NFF Congress crowd.

Kristy told individual stories of BIRRR members battling to gain decent connection to run businesses, educate their children and stay connected in an increasingly digital world.  She also shared some interim results from a survey currently being run by BIRRR.

Ongoing issues with the long-term internet satellite, SkyMuster, described by nbn as a  ‘game changer’, were also addressed.  One strong survey result shows that 42% of respondents using SkyMuster have no other form of internet.

“We hope Sky Muster will become more reliable and that the so-called ‘teething problems’ that have plagued the last few months can be sorted quickly,” Kristy said.

“It is imperative that sky muster becomes much more reliable, and meets the needs of RRR users – the outages and issues over the past few months have devastated some rural businesses and jeopardised children’s education.”

“Bush people are required, and expected to have, connectivity.  There must be greater investment in ensuring bush communities have the tools to meet business needs.”

BIRRR received confirmation last week that nbn co have:

  • changed its call centre policy and protocols so that satellite end users will not be referred immediately to their RSP.
  • nbn’s call centre will now be able to provide basic network outage information so that callers will at the very least know if the network is down in their area.
  • set up ‘a dedicated regional support team inside this call centre to handle rural addressing issues, location I.D generation, non-standard fixed wireless installs, or other issues that people living in regional, rural and remote areas experience’.
  • nbn will also incorporate this approach into its official Facebook page, nbn Australia.

The announcement of this change of policy in the nbn customer call centre, just prior to the NFF Congress, was met with cautious approval.

“We are looking forward to nbn providing more direct and responsive communication to end users – we will continue to work with industry groups and government to ensure nbn understands the significance of the data drought and the urgent need to address bush connectivity,” Kristy said.

During her meetings and at the Congress, Kristy also told Senator Nash, nbn co and provider reps that they needed to work toward establishing:

  • A funded extension and advisory service – a ‘technology hub’ to help guide people
  • Extending the fixed wireless footprint, especially to towns currently on ADSL, yet mapped for Sky Muster
  • Providers & nbn to establish RRR call centres.

“The bush needs urgent assistance in getting connected and having plans that meet their needs. For RRR regions to grow it is essential for businesses, families and communities to have access to, and be able to best utilise, digital technology. We need to ensure our towns and communities are not disadvantaged in the digital age due to our postcode and population.

“BIRRR appreciated the opportunity to have a discussion with nbn co’s CEO and reps, to be part of the ACCAN roundtable, to present at the NFF Congress, meet with Minister Nash’s office, nbn and Department of Communications.  We feel like we were heard in our meetings with each of these important industry groups.”

Kristy also recently won the Innovation and Leadership category at the Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Awards in Brisbane.

“It has been a hectic couple of weeks, but we feel like we are making some headway in addressing bush broadband issues,” Kristy said.

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Sky Muster customers seeking nbn support on outages and nbn-related issues can call 1800 687 626 or email info@nbnco.com.au.

The BIRRR group page can be found here, with website resource here.

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Kristy Sparrow with her Innovation and Leadership award at the Queensland Regional Achievement and Community Awards

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Minister for Regional Telecommuncations, Senator Fiona Nash with BIRRR’s Kristy Sparrow and nbn co’s Bill Morrow (at the NFF Congress in Canberra)

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BIRRR Chief Admin Kristy Sparrow addresses the NFF Congress during a panel discussion on ‘Telecommunications in the Bush’.

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ACCAN roundtable group photo, including BIRRR’s Julie Stott (second from left, middle row).

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BIRRR admin reps Kylie Stretton and Kristy Sparrow toured nbn co headquarters while in Sydney, with Gavin Williams, nbn co’s Executive General Manager, New Developments, Wireless and Satellite.

Contact a Politician

Here is basic letter to get you started! (Click here to open it)  – Please make sure you replace the RED wording with your own relevant details.

Details for the relevant MPs to contact on matters of NBN and internet problems:

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Manager of Government Business in the Senate
Minister for Communications
Minister for the Arts
Liberal Party of Australia
https://www.aph.gov.au/Senators_and_Members/Contact_Senator_or_Member?MPID=D2I
https://www.facebook.com/SenatorFifield
https://twitter.com/SenatorFifield

Contact details for all MPs  here

Web Page Optimisation (WPO)

nbn SkyMuster uses a system called Web Page Optimisation (WPO).
Web Page Optimisation is designed to help speed the loading of pages, as you browse.
A downside of WPO is that nbn counts all the data that WPO pre-fetches, including data collected to speed up your page loads even if you never see them.
Some providers (if asked) will disable (turn off) WPO.
You may experience some pages loading a little slower, but for many there is little change in speed.
Disabling WPO will stop the addition of the WPO overhead to your account.
The amount of additional data that WPO uses will vary with the the day to day internet activity of your household.
For those on SkyMuster who are struggling to keep within their account quota, disabling WPO may be something to consider.

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

Kindly prepared for BIRRR by John Kitchener 21/7/2016

Complaining to the TIO

Complaining to the Ombudsman WHEN the fault is not the providers; (as is 99% of the current Sky Muster problems) does absolutely nothing, zip and zero … except damage and create more work for a provider already up to their ears and battling with a re-recalcitrant wholesaler ie nbn.

  • You can only lodge a claim citing your provider.
  • You cannot lodge a claim against Hills, SkyBridge, Ericsson or nbn (Sky Muster faults).

Your service provider most likely gets whacked with an automatic fee (for details click here) and if you may find that they dump you as a customer. It will be one option offered by the TIO (and probably also mentioned in the RSP’s Terms & Conditions), then you only have yourself to blame.

If I was a provider … I’d dump you if it was not my fault and I had already explained that it wasn’t my fault and that it was out of my control.

Much better in the Sky Muster case, to lodge your problem very forcefully with a Government politician. Contact details for a government politician are here

Most certainly if your provider has not tried to help you AND you have given them every opportunity to resolve the problem; then go to the ombudsman with both barrels.

See how to make a complaint here, https://www.tio.com.au/making-a-complaint
You need to have made a complaint to your telecommunications service provider and it is unresolved, before you can complain to the TIO. You also need the relevant information when you lodge your complaint; for example, dates of important events and names of people you have spoken to.

The TIO will investigate landline, mobile and internet services, including:

  • contracts
  • connecting new services
  • transferring services
  • SIM unlocking fees
  • faults, dropouts and poor coverage
  • billing mistakes
  • billing and supply of mobile premium services
  • debt collection
  • services provided over the National Broadband Network (NBN)

Full details of all that the TIO will investigate are listed here

The TIO will not investigate (among others) the following:

  • ADSL internet not being available to you because there is no infrastructure
  • NBN services not being available to you because there is no infrastructure

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

Kindly prepared and illustrated for BIRRR by John Kitchener 12/7/2016

 

BIRRR survey SAYS…

2017

Link to survey – 2017 Regional Internet Access Survey Results

2016

Announcing the release of the 2016 SURVEY RESULTS for REGIONAL INTERNET ACCESS!!!

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LINK TO MEDIA RELEASE: ‘GETTING LEFT BEHIND’

Please use the following links to download the PDF’s of the results document (52 pages/1.9MB) and our media release (4 pages/1MB)

2016 Regional Internet Access Survey Results

BIRRR ‘SURVEY SAYS’ MEDIA RELEASE

 

 

 

BIRRR nbn™ Fixed Wireless Success Stories

Much of our volunteer time at BIRRR Headquarters is taken up troubleshooting people who live ‘just outside’ nbn™ fixed wireless ‘purple’ coverage areas.  Here are some of the stories from people we have helped to get fixed wireless.

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Sample of BIRRR Success Story, who lived outside ‘purple coverage area’

Amanda :  Huge difference to us. No drama streaming Netflix, Xbox Live etc etc during school holidays. Now back at school have SKYPEd with tutors able to read children’s work sheets from video, easily downloaded lesson material during actual lesson! Husband can work easily from home. Haven’t come close to monthly limit. Not too mention cost – have no idea what we were spending on internet with recharges for mobile broadband. Kids can log into school portals no problems. Can do research for assignments from home. I can access bank first go. The list is endless.

Emma:  It’s been awesome to have faster internet, I don’t have to avoid using several devices at a time. Emails with attachments send so quickly and uploading files (I am studying online so do a fair bit of both). I’ve had an issue with the nbn™ speed being much slower the last week or so than what it initially was but it’s still at least twice as fast as what we had before even when it’s running ‘slow’. We have a higher data allowance for a better price due to not being restricted to Telstra. Our allowance wasn’t low before, but it’s now more than double what we had before and for a lower price. No longer having to pay home phone line rental just to have internet as well (changed over to voip). I went so crazy downloading last month – we watched full series of at least 3 different tv shows (probably about 15 seasons between all the shows watched), I downloaded xbox games, a heap of stuff on the computer and a lot of browsing and watching videos with everyone home for a few weeks. I didn’t even get to half our allowance!

Yolande:  Financially we are saving $30 a month just on our Internet bill (plus actually getting decent service for our money) not to mention not using additional data on our phones. kids have only just gone back to school but no doubt having internet for whole month instead of running out after 1-2 weeks will help them with their school work. Suppose you could say has also helped family relationships as no fights over who used all the data lol. Must say hardly most important issue given people struggling to run businesses etc but it was nice to have decent internet over school hols so kids could watch movies etc things they could never do on mobile broadband so b i suppose there has been a social benefit as well. It is just nice to feel like part of the modern world again cant you thank you enough for your help.

Kain: Much better. Higher speeds, less latency, cheaper, bigger data allowances. Much more stable connection than the mobile broadband. Average speed now is 22 down 4 up. Video streaming is actually possible now, and the data lasts the whole month. You can read more about Kain’s story here.

Barb:  Yes thank you Kristy. I’m finding nbn™ fixed wireless with SkyMesh way better than the crap local provider service I’d had to battle with previously – the crap service where speeds varied down to dialup , data would be used without being used and their solution to any problem was to blame the customer.

Margie: Cost saving I would say is the biggest positive in  wireless NBN. We have house phone and internet in one. Speeds, data allowance, clear phone line 100% plus advantage of NBN. ( South Burnett – north Nanango)

Chris:  A Great Leap Forward. Haven’t saved any money yet (Telstra won’t let us out of our contract) but having a good data allowance from Aussie Broadband is wonderful. We can run our business, communicate with our friends, and have much lower stress levels about going over our data limit. When the grandkids come to stay they are happy too. Thank you BIRRR !! (We are in South Gippsland, Vic).  You can read more about Chris’ Story here.

Lisa:  Kristy your help has made a huge difference to us. After being told countless times we couldn’t get nbn™ your request for a desktop study changed everything!! We had wireless broadband with Telstra. We were hooked up to nbn™ 2 weeks ago! Speed is about the same and this one drops out much more but the cost saving is enormous, over $1500 a month! We were trying to run our farm business, our business in Sydney all on 25gb. We had to keep adding data packages which meant we were spending at least $1800 every month. Plus I do the marketing for a charity in town and I have to manage their website and social media. The whole thing was a nightmare!  Not saving money yet as had to pay out Telstra but we will soon. Can’t thank you enough.

Narelle:  Huge difference to us. Tv reception is shocking so we are now able to stream, Netflix and iview got quite a workout during the holidays. I’m returning to study to complete a Masters through Distance Ed, could not have done this without fixed wireless, cost would have been crazy.  A lot of Ag research done on line now, great for our business My daughter is able to do Reading Eggs at home now as well as at school. They are about to start maths seeds, which is a similar programme, we can do this at home as well without me worrying about the cost of data. We actually feel like it has had a big impact on our life, much more than we originally thought it would have. Large data allowance for a fraction of what we were paying and a lot more stable service. Very few drop outs compared to mobile internet. Thanks to Kristy and BIRRR!  We live in the Wimmera in Victoria.

Ku:  It’s been life changing. My son can easily access his school work through CDSE. We have better access for my research and work as well as managing our business. Amazing. All for significantly less cost. Thanks Kristy!! Near Rockhampton.

Helen:  Huge positive difference! 5 x the data for the same cost, good speeds and reliable/stable connectivity mean that our entire family benefit but especially our farm business. We are so amazed at the difference and hugely grateful and appreciative of the service we now have. It was a long, frustrating road to get there, and it would not have happened at all without Kristy and BIRRR 😀

Julie:  It has made a HUGE difference to our lives I can now down load emails and and my children can access it for homework!! It works out cheaper because I get 300+% more down load we are even getting to enjoy movies I can’t thank you enough Kristy for what you did for us !!
Linda:  Wow it is unbelievable the difference your assistance has made Kristy. We have been connected for just over 2 months with every services we could get. NLIS transfers and BAS lodgements take minutes. Netflix Stan Presto Foxtel iq3 not having to worry about being shaped is amazing. Kids have no issues with studies or online gaming. The cost savings are huge. Now just need to have Telstra allow users to share the some of their data limit with remote users.

Beck:  Kristy helped us get NBN, when we’d previously been told we couldn’t get enough reception. Between Mark Moore and Kristy, we were able to get it sorted and without their help, it just would not have happened! Previously we were on NGW and mobile broadband. $300+ per month minimum. My son had been doing BSDE in semester 1 2015 and poor reception and increasing frustration trying to connect and lodge assignments certainly added to the decision to change to local state school (which has luckily worked out!). Aside from this, the actual business of running a farm was so difficult – emails may or may not send or load, forms couldn’t be downloaded, the spinning “loading” internet wheel would drive us mad! And forget trying to download/watch a movie, music, videos etc, it just wasn’t worth it. Things are now so much improved – internet banking works without cutting out, emails flying in and out (and load!), we can watch YouTube and video links easily and even complete surveys! And the added advantage of being able to watch shows via Presto, iview etc has been great, especially with 3 generations in the one house with very different viewing habits lol. Additionally we have nearly halved our phone bill monthly which is a massive benefit. Sorry for such a long reply but it was too hard to summarise the benefits and to express what a change BIRRRA and Mark, and particularly Kristy have made! We are approx. 45km from Kingaroy.

 

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Example of BIRRR Success Story – outside of ‘purple zone’ and now connected to fixed wireless.

Jenni:   Yes definitely. cheaper and much more data, also think its faster. Great result, worth all the phone calls and hassles I had. Thanks so much to BIRRR helpers.

Patricia:  We had been requesting a test for nearly 2 years just for the testing, when I phoned I always tried to explain the position etc but the last answers were we failed the computer test, I phoned at least every month, the staff were always lovely and patient, but I could not get past the computer test. 2 weeks ago I private messaged you regarding our position within 2 hours of my message you PMed me and the local contractor phoned me, I was amazed how quick you got things moving. The contractor came 2 days later and tested the reception and BINGO he picked up 3 signals, one being -82% which is very good indeed……The plan we have gone with includes 500 gb data telephone calls to local, national and mobiles…….$119.00 p/m incredible…we were paying $100.00 for 15 gb mobile broadband and $45 p/m for home line for only local and national calls……I am a Web Designer, my husband is an entertainer, the documents we have to send and receive are large. Having this will be a huge difference.We will be looking forward to Netflix and other wonderful services. Another is I have started free workshops at Nanango for digital devices this will help me downloads tutorials etc for the students….This would not of been achieved without the assistance of Better Internet For Rural, Regional And Remote Australia (BIRRR) and especially Kristy.
Michael:  We have only been connected for a couple of days but the process was almost seamless and the using the Fixed Wireless is far superior to anything else we have used. With our usage, and once the old services are cancelled we will save in the vicinity of $140.00/month. Thanks again to the BIRRR team especially Kristy 🙂

Alan:  Thanks to Kristy and BIRRR, my family now has nbnfixed wireless. Cannot thank you more then enough.. Originally outside the ‘purple’ area with my only option looking forward was sky muster but ended up with a signal strength of 87db two foot off my roof peak. BIRRR opened doors to the nbn™ that my phone calls couldn’t. 🙂

Colin: Thanks to these ladies of BIRRR (Kristy & Julie)  I just had one of my customers connected Yesterday to Fixed Wireless nbn™ that had been failed before as not in the coverage area. He is now connected & loving the speed around 19Mbps.

nbn™ even blogged about our success stories – you can read about it here

BIRRR Success stories taken from the BIRRR Facebook Group 24/4/16

 

How to find your Latitude and Longitude using Google Maps

Google Maps is a web application that allows users to find and search for locations, get directions, and view street view maps using a scalable, virtual map interface via their browser. The service is powered by high-resolution satellite images, allowing users to zoom in on maps, sometimes down to street level, through the Street View feature.
This article provides details for how to get longitude and latitude for any given location using Google Maps. Your co-ordinates will offer the best information for nbn™ and your service provider to locate you.
1. Go to https://www.google.com.au/maps/

Google Maps2.  Enter the city, town, country, address, or other location you want to find the longitude and latitude for and click the “Search Maps” button.

 

google maps 2

 

A red marker is placed on the map, pinpointing the location you have entered.

3. Right-click the red marker or a surrounding area and select the “What’s here?” option from the context menu.

 

google maps 3

4.  A pop up appears with the location latitude and longitude displayed. This will also drop a grey arrow marker on the map.

google maps 4

5.  Left click on the latitude and longitude. The side panel displays the details of the location.

 

google maps 56.   Copy and paste details as required from the side panel.

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

Prepared  for BIRRR by John Kitchener 24/4/2016

nbn Sky Muster Educational Port ?

An nbn Sky Muster Education Port is a dedicated port in the nbn modem (NTD), specifically designed for distance education and home school students (preschool, primary & secondary) who are mapped to receive nbn Sky Muster. The port enables each eligible student to access a set amount of data for education (50GB per student, limited to 150GB per Sky Muster NTD).

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Each state department of education decides on eligibility requirements for the nbn Sky Muster Educational Port and how it is delivered.

In QLD, NT & SA the end-user (YOU) is responsible for the ordering and payment of the education port (you are eligible for an allowance to help subsidise the cost of internet), in other states the Department of Education organise the connection and payment (NSW & WA) or there is no subsidised port available (VIC & TAS).

If you are home-schooling or educating via distance education in QLD, SA, VIC, TAS & NT, you may like to investigate an nbn Sky Muster Plus Plan.

nbn Sky Muster Plus Plans would provide you with:

  • unlimited unmetered data for schooling, things like Blackboard, emails, Dropbox, One Drive, web browsing, video conferencing + more etc are unmetered (they don’t count in your usage & are never slowed).
  • a data allowance for metered content, things like You Tube, Tik Tok, Netflix, Stan, Kayo e.t.c (video streaming & VPN).
  • a speed burst

BIRRR advise is to analyse your current data use on your Education Port and look at switching to a small Plus plan (either 25GB or 50GB depending on the number of children in your classroom), the majority of your children’s schooling requirements will be UNMETERED and therefore PLUS represents better value for money than an education port for QLD, SA, VIC, TAS & NT users. nbn estimate on average that 70% of your current usage will be unmetered, this is likely to be higher for current education port accounts.

NB: iinet, Westnet & Bordernet do NOT offer PLUS plans.

DOWNLOAD THE FACT SHEET : BIRRR Sky Muster Education Ports

Education Port State Specifics:

* You may need to provide a Student ID number from your child’s school to order an Education Port.

QUEENSLAND

QLD broadband internet subsidy: An annual payment of $500 to eligible students to assist with provision of broadband internet access.  Available to students currently enrolled at a State School of Distance Education for a minimum of 6 months continuous enrolment.

NEW SOUTH WALES & WESTERN AUSTRALIA

In NSW & WA, you need to contact the school regarding an Education Port.

In Western Australia (updated 29/8/18):

  • Primary Students must be enrolled in a School of the Air (any one of 5 schools at Kalgoorlie, Meekatharra, Carnarvon, Port Hedland or Kimberley).
  • Secondary Students must be enrolled in the School of Isolated and Distance Education (SIDE) – these students must request access, as it is not automatically offered.
  • Once enrolled, the school Principal will request and pay for an NBN satellite service through the Department’s Customer Service Centre. The service is ordered by the Department’s Information and Communications Division through the RSP (Clear Networks).
  • The nbn Sky Muster service is fully funded the Department.

Service Providers offering Education Port Plans (as at 31/08/18)

These providers DO NOT Offer Educational Port services: Bordernet, iinet, Westnet, Southern Phone

NB: Although nbn Fair Use Policies will be ‘relaxed’ for the educational port, it will be up to the providers to have the final say on the types of plans offered, this includes costs and data limits.

What equipment will I need ?

Please refer to the BIRRR Preparing for Sky Muster document.

Google Cloud Print (or similar) allows you to print to a central printer if you have more than one port operational on your nbn Sky Muster connection.

What if I have a separate school room ?

If your school room is located close to your house or within your house, you will be able to access the education port on your home nbn Sky Muster installation.

You have one port on the NBN NTD (the nbn modem) for your education port and use another port for your personal use – i.e. you will have TWO plans and may need TWO routers.

Alternatively your RSP may offer you a combined plan for private and educational use over the same port using the same router and plan. RSPs do have the ability to offer combined plans. You need to check with your RSP

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However if your school room is located a considerable distance from the home connection this will require a separate ‘Location ID’ to be raised with NBN and an additional nbn Sky Muster installation. If you have more than 1 habitable house on your property, each residence is entitled to a Sky Muster™ installation.

You can have a Sky Muster service that has only 1 port provisioned and this port can be JUST the educational port (this will be the case for school rooms located some distance from the home NTD).

See more details in our Preparing for Sky Muster document and the nbn Education Services End User Guide

How did the Education Port come about ?

Late in 2015 the Federal Government set nbn the task of developing a dedicated port for education for use with the new nbn Sky Muster Satellite.

nbn worked with State and Territory education departments to develop an Educational Port’  which is delivered over a dedicated port at the remote user’s home via Sky Muster. This port was designed specifically for distance education and home schoolers, however future uses could include health and emergency services. You can read more about the announcement here.

What is the Distance Education Working Group?

In 2015 the Government established a Distance Education Working Group consisting of the Federal Department of Communications and Department of Education, executives from nbn Satellite team, Isolated Children’s Parents’ Association (ICPA),  and State and Territory Education Departments. The Distance Education Working Group was formed after a BIRRR discussion with Paul Fletcher who was then the Parliamentary Secretary to the Communications Minister of the time (Malcolm Turnbull). The group meets to discuss how to best meet the needs of remote students. You can read more about the need for such a group here.

* Prepared for BIRRR by Kristy Sparrow, images by BIRRR members & John Kitchener. Updated 12/10/2020. For further details please check with your education department and provider.

Preparing For nbn™ Sky Muster™

Are you ready for Sky MusterTM 

Once you have ordered your Sky Muster service (with your provider) the below steps will walk you through how to prepare for your installation.  You can check out the nbn Guide on How to prepare for your Sky Muster Installation here.

The BIRRR article below will also help you cover the bases, including:


SATELLITE DISHES

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

Most Sky Muster dishes are more compact than earlier satellite installations and more like 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.

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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.


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. The installer is responsible for installing the dish on your roof and the nbn (NTD) box in your house.  They are NOT responsible for connecting your router and home network.

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RETHINKING YOUR HOME NETWORK

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.

– 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 are available in the nbn™ Sky Muster User Guide

Screen Shot 2015-12-15 at 9.16.16 AM


 

ROUTERS

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

See the BIRRR document on Sky Muster Routers

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


 

ADDING A VOICE OVER INTERNET PROTOCOL (VOIP) SERVICE TO SKY MUSTERTM

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

See the BIRRR document on Voice Services over Sky Muster.

You should keep your existing landline as this service will continue to be maintained for Sky Muster 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.


 

SKY MUSTER ‘EDUCATIONAL’ NTD PORT.

Who you will deal with?  A: The Education Port on Sky Muster differs in each state, depending on your department of education policies.

A specific ‘education’ port is available for students who are home schooled or enrolled in an approved school of distance education.  Availability differs in each state. BIRRR advises you to check with your state’s Department of Education regarding your eligibility.

Additional routers and equipment may be necessary to access the education port.

Your RSP may assist with the initial service installation, router provisioning and equipment configuration. You will need a student ID to access the port.

Further information is available in the BIRRR Document What is an Educational Port.

 


*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. Updated 29/8/18

Jacob’s Story – Sharing Internet Connections with Neighbours

Sharing Internet Connections with a Wireless Bridge
by    Jacob Johnson

This document shows three different examples of how an enterprising BIRRR member has helped himself and others share internet connections via a WIFI link.

I have a fixed wireless connection and share to my neighbour who had a failed install 300m away through some thick trees. I also set up the same system between another two neighbours in the same situation. My speeds are slightly affected but only because we are sharing a single connection.  We did this because it was cheaper that way.  My neighbours don’t download anything just watch Netflix occassionally. The nbn NTD can support up to 75mbit so it is not a problem if both properties are on the 25/5 plans but you may experience slightly slower speeds if both were on a 50/20 plan downloading full speed.

  1.  A 300m 2.4Ghz WIFI link – nbn FIXED WIRELESS
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A newly installed nbn™ Fixed Wireless ODU with a Ubiquiti Nanostation attached to the Fixed Wireless mast.

MY HOUSE: This was originally a temporary mount for the Nanostation, but it appears to work perfectly with no interference; so it may stay! It is directed to the ‘clothes line’ Ubiquiti Nanostation shown below.

The picture above shows a newly installed nbn™ Fixed Wireless ODU and a Ubiquiti Nanostation attached to the Fixed Wireless mast. The Ubiquiti nanostation is used to transmit the Fixed Wireless connection over WIFI from this location

The Nanostation WIFI link connects to the ‘clothes line’ Ubiquiti Nanostation shown below.

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The clothes line Ubiquiti is connected via Ubiquiti tough cable running through a conduit to home.

NEIGHBOUR 1:

The clothes line Ubiquiti is connected via Ubiquiti tough LAN cable via underground conduit, to the home. The home roof was not suitable for the WIFI link as it had too many trees in the signal path and the clothes line was a cheap pole on which to mount the Nanostation.

The 2.4Ghz link is ~ 300m and the wireless receive signal level is 63dbm. That is an excellent result.

 

2.  A 350m 2.4Ghz WIFI link – nbn FIXED WIRELESS

NEIGHBOURS 2 & 3:

The next two photos show a link which shares fixed wireless between two of my neighbours. It passes through a grove of trees, but the signal is perfect. The house roof ones aren’t solar powered, a cat5 cable runs down into the house, into the poe port of the Ubiquiti power injector.

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The 2.4Ghz link distance is ~ 350m and the receive signal level is 65dbm.

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An excellent result.

3.  A solar powered 3G Installation and 2.5Km 5Ghz WIFI link – MOBILE BROADBAND

This WIFI link delivers internet from a solar powered 3G modem and router installed on an elevated ridge. Internet is beamed down to a site that has no mobile reception via a WIFI link.

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The 5Ghz link is ~ 2.5km and the receive level is 60dbm.

Prepared for BIRRR by Jacob Johnson & John Kitchener

Chris’ Story nbn Standard Fixed Wireless

I came across the BIRRR group only recently (after the ABC LandLine segment ) and it was an absolute blast of moist fresh air across the barren land of data drought. The effort behind the website is its real strength. The fact that all you have real lives and family and many, many demands on your time and yet have made such am impact in many ways is an incredible testament to your talent and dedication.

What I like about BIRR is that:
· It brings people together to share their stories of data drought and the communication problems in modern rural, remote and regional Australia

· It does meticulous research, calling on experts, thoroughly researching the problems and liaising with professionals. The fact that BIRRR does not shout out a particular opinion or give solutions that have been just heard about in the local pub makes it a credible and reliable resource.

· It caters for the full range of RRR needs on the comms front – Phones, Mobiles, FW, Satellite, etc etc

· It’s willing and able to help individuals with individual problems (where do you all get the time and energy??)

· It places an emphasis on the needs of education in our RRR communities

· the webpage has a user-friendly design and is really easy to navigate. Articles and posts are dated and authorship / info sources attributed

· It has an important policy for fb and twitter posts that they are to be respectful, not rude and not (too) politically biased

Back in the early 20th C when the phone first came to central NSW my grandparents were doing mixed farming around the Forbes area. Their technological highpoint for communications was a party-line that ran through about 12 properties. Everyone shared the one line and had an individual combination of rings for them to know a call was for them. Haven’t we come a long way! Haven’t we got a long way still to go.?

My particular interest has been Fixed Wireless and if not for the contribution of BIRRR I would have given up and gone back to two tin cans with a string between. We failed our first signal test * but are now back on track with a new RSP (suggested by BIRRR) and, with luck, by the end of the year should be on the nbn. Great for us. But what of the so many others who are far worse off? All strength to BIRR and may it continue until we all have a decent and affordable means to communicate, help educate our kids, do business, and (dare I mention it?) be entertained!

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UPDATE 3/12/15:  A thousand thank you’s to Kristy Sparrow and all the installers who visited our place, and the brilliant folks at Aussie Broadband and the BIRRR community. We’re now on the NBN FW in South Gippsland. It was a difficult journey but we got there. We can run our business, communicate with our friends, and have much lower stress levels about going over our data limit. When the grandkids come to stay they are happy too.

* Chris was able to get the correct signal strength when nbn changed the fixed wireless parameters from -96dbm to -99dBm

Prepared for BIRRR by Chris Downes

Using a WIFI Bridge to achieve a nbn™ Fixed Wireless connection

Using a WIFI Bridge to achieve a nbn™ Fixed Wireless connection

The following diagrams show typical methodologies for connecting a remote nbn™ fixed wireless installation via a WIFI link.
The link is best constructed using semi-commercial specialist WIFI routers such as those made by Ubiquiti or MicroTik; or similar. This equipment is inexpensive and relatively straightforward to configure. You may also be able to purchase the equipment pre-configured, depending on the application. City Technology is a good place to compare Ubiquiti product pricing.
For links around 2 to 3Kms, an equipment cost of around $100 per site is likely. Installation and cabling is additional. Reliable links of up to 20Km may be economically realised.  If the WIFI link is well designed and constructed it will provide speeds in excess of 100Mbps; which is more than fast enough for a 50/20Mbps nbn wireless connection.
OPTION 1:  This arrangement shows an nbn™ fixed wireless service installed in a shed or location where no internet is required at that location (eg Premise 1 in the diagram below). The nbn™ service is extended via a WIFI bridge to the home (eg Premise 2 in the Diagram below) and a WIFI router is added to extend LAN services and broadcast WIFI around the home. The WIFI link acts exactly like a long, long length of LAN cable. For more in depth details read the stories on our  Stories & Testimonials Page

 

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This arrangement is typical for a remote nbn™ installation in an area on your property, where signal is good.

OPTION 2: The second arrangement shows an nbn™ fixed wireless service installed in Premise 1 with internet available. This internet service is extended via a WIFI bridge to another premise, Premise 2. Both premises share a single nbn™ wireless service. Depending on configuration of the routers the premises may or may not share the same network. You may also configure the router to ensure that one household doesn’t swamp the others access ie each household is restricted to half the capacity of the FW link.

 

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This configuration is most likely suitable for families living in separate homes on the same property, where the cost of the internet service is shared.

 

OPTION 3: This arrangement shows an nbn™ fixed wireless service installed in Premise 1 with internet available. A second nbn™ fixed wireless service is installed on the same nbn wireless NTU using the same or a different RSP (ISP/Provider). This second service is extended via a WIFI bridge to Premise 2. This second service is independent of the service at Premise 1 and is likely, separately billed.

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This arrangement is most likely if you negotiate to use your neighbour’s nbn™ connection.

 

There are two W-NTD versions. The V1 ODU has an antenna gain of 23dBi and a throughput capacity 60Mb/s. The V2 ODU has an antenna gain of 26dBi and a throughput capacity of 75Mb/s i.e. across one or all four ports.

An nbn™ fixed wireless service is available with speeds of 12/1, 25/5 and 50/20 (up to). This implies that if both customers were to activate a 50/20 service then there would be times when the service speed is restricted (by the 60-75Mbps total cap), if they are both heavy users.

Sharing between ports is graceful, as they are different vlans ie if you had port 1 and 2 activated with 50/20 plans, the throughput sharing would be 50:50.

OPTION 4: A fourth situation may exist where a single property has two residences, each with an independent fixed wireless standard installation.  nbn™ will install a fixed wireless service at each residence

There will be other variations of these four themes.

Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with nbn™ or your ISP regarding your own connection issues.  Thanks to John Kitchener, BIRRR member for compiling this document. 

Kain’s nbn™ non-standard Fixed Wireless Install

Kain’s Story:nbn™ Fixed Wireless non-standard install

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My experience started about 8 months ago. After numerous articles in the paper, ads on TV and radio, the letterbox pamphlets and all the typical fanfare that happens with a new technology, the NBN was finally available in the area my family’s property is in! It would be a huge improvement on the slow ABG Satellite and expensive yet unreliable mobile broadband that we had at the time.

After comparing plans, we chose a provider and signed up. Surely if we could get mobile coverage we could get fixed wireless……. But it was not going to be that simple. When the installer came out to do a signal test, the result was not good, -106dBm. The cutoff was -96dBm. No install for us.  After calls to the RSP, NBN etc,the verdict was we’d have to wait for the satellite service. But, being as stubborn as I am, I started doing a bit of research to work out why we could not get it.  After researching the tower locations on the mynbn.info website and checking on Google maps, I worked out the signal was blocked by a granite ridge behind the house. What about a mast on the hill I thought? More calls to NBN and the result was bad luck, we were listed as unable to get NBN. They wouldn’t send a tech out for another signal test, even though I could literally see the NBN tower from the top of the hill. Very frustrating!

Kain
The tower, clearly visible from the top of the hill

Fast forward a few months, I was put in touch with the team from BIRRR who not only had some great resources and information available on the page, but also worked hard to get us re-listed as Service class 5 (NBN Fixed wireless available, no NTD Installed) so that we could book another install!

Not wanting another fail, I studied as much as I could on fixed wireless technology, installation requirements etc. These can be found on the BIRRR pages, NBN Website, Whirlpool forums, ACMA Website etc. But to summarise; here are a few requirements:

  • You MUST be located within 14KMs of an active NBN Fixed wireless tower. Line of sight is recommended, as the frequency used is affected by terrain. Solid terrain such as hills etc will degrade the signal heavily, as will thick bush land. A few gums etc. will affect it but not as badly. It is the water in the foliage which interferes.
  • For a pass, the signal has to be at least -96dBm. The lower the number, the better the signal eg. -70dBm is better than -80dBm. Since this time, the cutoff point has been increased to -99dBm.
  • The install has 2 main components, the ODU (Out Door Unit, a panel antenna and modem) and the NTD (Network Termination Device). The maximum cable run between the 2 units cannot be more than 80 metres. This is the cable run, not the distance “as the crow flies”. The ODU has to be mounted where it gets a strong signal from the tower. The NTD must be mounted within 1.5 metres of a 240v power supply in a weatherproof enclosure that does not get too hot or cold.
  • The cable joining the two components must be run through white telecommunications conduit with no sharp bends at a minimum depth of 30cms underground from the building housing the NTD to the mast/building where the ODU is located. It needs to have a string line run through from one end to the other to feed the cable through, and this is much easier to do as you are joining the conduit as opposed to trying to feed it through the whole length.
  • If a mast or tower needs to be erected, it is the responsibility of the owner to have it in place and meeting any local legal requirements. It must be sturdy. A 10 metre length of gal pipe tied to a star-picket is a no-go… I would recommend buying a proper radio tower if needed. These can be sourced from Hills, Nally towers etc.
  • The installer is not responsible for ensuring access to the mounting location, the property owner is. This means if it is to be mounted on a 14 metre mast, the owner has to provide a cherry picker on the day of the install. No installer will climb a 14 metre tower, especially a home-made one.
  • NBN responsibility stops at the NTD. If you need to get the internet from that location to another location or to multiple devices, this has to be arranged by the owner at their own expense.

There may be things I have missed… I recommend doing your research and double-check everything. There are a lot of resources available on the BIRRR page including a guide to fixed wireless installs, both standard and non-standard.

Now that I had all the info required, I could get everything ready for the install.

STEP 1: My first step was to put a building on a spot on the property where I could get a strong signal. After a bit of hunting around, I bought a cheap caravan for the purpose. My reasoning for this was that a caravan can be parked anywhere on your property without council approval providing nobody is living in it, whereas building a shed would need a development application approved. Check your local council regulations on this, as it may vary. I parked it as close to the top of the ridge as I could.

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STEP 2: The second step was to put up a mast with line of sight to the tower. Since I had the van close to the ridge, the mast only needed to be above the height of any stray kangaroos etc. So I went with a 3 metre length of 1” galvanised pipe cemented 60cm into the ground, remembering the conduit end.

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STEP 3:  Digging the trench proved to be difficult, as the 20 metres closest to the mast was full of bush rock. There must have been about 10 ton of rock that I pulled out with a 4×4 bit by bit. After the trench was done, I ran the conduit. This was proper NBN Conduit available at a local electrical wholesaler for about $1/metre in 4.5 metre lengths. To make it even simpler for the installer, I ran the cable as I was going. This meant purchasing it myself, but it was a time-saver and on the day of the install the tech was grateful it was done. The cable has to be outdoor gel-filled Cat5e ethernet cable. I purchased this from an electrical supply store in Sydney at 88c/metre.

Conduit

STEP 4:  Due to the location, running a 240v power supply from the house to the van was not practical, so I installed a 250w solar panel and 330Ah battery bank with a sine-wave inverter for power. Being over the 90 metre limit for Ethernet to the house, I decided that a wireless bridge was the logical step. When setting these up, you have to be careful not to exceed the maximum power limit of 4 watts EIRP for broadcasting, or the ACMA can hit you with massive fines. If you are going this route, I would recommend getting it installed by a professional if you are not experienced with wireless networking.

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Now that all the prep work had been done, I booked an install through SkyMesh (who I have to say are brilliant to deal with, it’s a good change waiting on the line for just a few minutes and talking to an Aussie) and on the 30th of December 2015, the tech showed up on time, did a quick signal test and the result was great… -60dBm! Well within the limits.

Within an hour it was all installed and after a bit of a wait, we were activated!

After all that work, there was a happy ending!

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These speeds are about the average we receive now, and so far the setup has proved to be fairly reliable.

I would like to thank Kristy Sparrow and the team at BIRRR, Skymesh and NBN. For making this possible and turning an extremely frustrating situation around for a positive outcome.

Disclaimer: This document is meant as an informative document based on my own research and experience. Any views, opinions, information etc. provided is not necessarily the same as that provided by NBN Co, BIRRR, SkyMesh or any other organisation referred to here.  Prepared for BIRRR by Kain Fitzgerald.

 

How Do I Get nbn™ ?

Did you know EVERY Australian residence will be able to access some form of nbn™ by the end of 2020 ?

  • Every Australian residence  will be able to access some form of nbn™ – fixed, fixed wireless or satellite. nbn™ are a wholesaler for the service, they sell to providers who then sell to the public.

At BIRRR headquarters we spend a lot of time researching the facts for our many members. We have noticed lately some confusion over the release of the new nbn Sky Muster Satellite service. The single most important item to remember is to research plans and providers, don’t stick with an old plan just because you have been with that provider for years. Sky Muster Providers are listed here.

To help choose an nbn provider check out the BIRRR Tip Sheet.

To compare Sky Muster providers – see our Sky Muster Plan Comparison.

How do you find out what type of nbn™ you will be getting at your address ?

STEP 1. Check your address on the NBN Rollout Map. The map should state what nbn technology your address is mapped for. If the pin on the map is not your actual house, go to Step 2.  If you are close to purple shading or have line of sight to a nbn Fixed Wireless tower (and not in purple shading), go to Step 2.

If your address looks correct, click on the arrow to find out if your residence is ready for service and which providers you can chose from.  When you contact a provider you will be given an install date for an nbn technician to come and install your equipment.

If your address does not map. Go to Step 2

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STEP 2. If you find your address does not display or is incorrect on the nbn Check your Address site you can contact nbn directly via email – info@nbn.com.au or phone 1800 687 626 and ask for your address to be fixed up so that you can order a service.

If you have any difficulties or think you are eligible for a different nbn technology,  BIRRR can assist via our desk check process.

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

Prepared for BIRRR by Kristy Sparrow, updated 17/08/18

SKY MUSTER PLANS BETTER FOR THE BUSH, BUT FOR HOW LONG?

Bush broadband to get a light shower, but no real end to #DataDrought predicted.

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Image from nbn co

After a long wait, Australia’s bush broadband users can finally get a look at nuts-and-bolts information for the new Sky Muster satellite with the release by nbn co of the Satellite Fair Use Policy… and it confirms their expectations.

Whilst they were hoping for a widespread soaking of data, the announcement of plans by nbn co for the Sky Muster satellite has provided ‘a light shower’ rather than long-term resolution of predicted data shortfalls.

“With years of dealing with almost non-existent speeds and very low data limits, rural regional and remote Australians have been looking hopefully to Sky Muster as ‘The Answer’ to their internet woes,” said BIRRR chief admin, Kristy Sparrow.

The maximum plan (issued by nbn co to retail suppliers) will be 75Gb Peak data usage, peak & off peak data limits will be set by providers. The Sky Muster Satellite is expected to be available for use by customers in four months time (April 2016).

There are 200 ‘trial sites’ currently being installed for Sky Muster by nbn co.

“While this (announcement) is better that we currently have, it by no means covers what data needs could be in a year, two years time, let alone another decade,” said Ms Sparrow.

The maximum nbn co deal of 150Gb (total) will see users speed limited if they breach the plan limit over a 4 week rolling period. The nbn co Fair Use Policy has severe penalties (for the service provider) if a user goes over the 150Gb in any 4 weeks (not necessarily their billing period). This will impact plan pricing and tiers as no provider will want plan limits breached. nbn co considers that 75Gb or more of data usage during Peak hours in any four week period constitutes a breach of its Fair Use Policy AND 150Gb or more of Data Usage in any four week period (Peak or Off Peak) also breaches the Fair Use Policy.

“As we take on feedback from people across Australia at the BIRRR Facebook group, members are very concerned that the new limits – while an improvement on current restrictive plans – will not address decent long-term service across Australia, as business becomes more and more internet and cloud based.“

Everything is app or internet dependant these days – from mapping and management of properties, to tracing cattle movements and payment of bills and accounting needs. That’s not even taking into innovative farming technology, social, health or education requirements”.

The BIRRR team were also disappointed to see off peak times announced as 1am – 7am and hope that nbn co and providers continue to investigate innovative ways to use off peak data allowances.

“The majority of members feel that these times are virtually unusable and as such the data will not be able to be accessed,” Ms Sparrow said.

BIRRR were however thrilled to see details of a second port for distance education users released, details are still to be confirmed however the port is expected to provide distance education students with a 50GB per student data allowance (to a maximum of 150GB per port), as well as expected priority of access to Skymuster.  This is fantastic news for primary and secondary students and we hope tertiary students can be included in the near future.

“All in all, whilst there has been some improvements, we are still going to have inequitable service and costs when compared to metropolitan areas,” Ms Sparrow said.

“Our main concern at BIRRR is that data usage is doubling at a rapid rate and plans are not keeping up.”

Speeds are expected to be better than current connections, with 25/5Mbps touted by nbn co. Current BIRRR survey data shows, bush broadband users endure speeds below 4/2Mbps (and often less than 2Mbps).

BIRRR predicts customers will flock to secure access to the new satellite as soon as providers have plan offers available.  Skymesh LTSS plans are available here 

As information and plans become available, the BIRRR team will post it to their website: www.birrraus.com.au as well as the Facebook page.

BIRRR urge all regional Australian’s to ensure they complete the regional internet access survey to ensure our voices are heard. Please access the survey here

 

nbn Fixed Wireless – Standard Installations

WHAT IS FIXED WIRELESS?

nbn FW (Fixed Wireless) is a fixed wireless service – it is delivered by radio communications, via antennas that transmit a signal direct to a small outdoor antenna attached to the premises.  It is a different technology to mobile broadband / wireless internet.

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nbn Fixed Wireless 

Fixed wireless (FW) does not provide mobile phone service, and can not be moved (hence the term ‘fixed’).

ARE YOU ELIGIBILE?

Check your address for FW eligibility here:  nbn : Check your Address

IMPORTANT PRE-INSTALLATION READING

  1. Preparing for a nbn Fixed Wireless Connection 
  2. nbn Fixed Wireless Explained
  3. nbn Fixed Wireless User Guide

GETTING FW ORGANISED

If you are able to obtain an nbn FW service at your address (if you are in the fixed wireless coverage area) you will need to contact a RSP (Retail Service Provider) also known as ISP (Internet Service Provider) to arrange for the equipment to be installed.  (nbn is an internet wholesaler and does not provide internet services directly to the public.)

A technician (nbn contractor) will be booked by the RSP to install the equipment. In the case of faulty equipment or connection problems you will need to contact your provider (not nbn).

BASIC FW INFO

nbn Fixed wireless installations require that two pieces of nbn-owned equipment are installed at your premises: the INDOOR unit and the OUTDOOR unit.

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nbn fixed wireless equipment

Please remember, the indoor unit (the connection box) needs to be installed on a wall in a sheltered, dry area with access to power. The indoor unit will be connected to the outdoor antenna by a cable, which provides power to the antenna and also connects the data from the outdoor unit to the indoor unit. You are entirely within your rights to ask that the installation take place in a location that is not the main house / residence on your property, but you need to keep in mind where you will be using the computer as it will need to be close to that point.

The outdoor unit has to have direct line of sight to and be less than 14 km from the serving nbn wireless tower. Other factors, such as local vegetation / tree density/ mountains etc can also prevent a sufficiently strong signal being achieved. 14 km is an absolute maximum and may be less, depending on local factors.

POSITIONING CONSIDERATIONS
The best place for your indoor Network Termination Device is one that is:

  • Near your existing phone or network cabling or devices that you will use the most
  • Within 1.5 metres of a dedicated 240V power point (a mandatory requirement)
  • In a cool, dry, ventilated area
  • Away from busy areas where it may be knocked and damaged
  • Where it will be easy for you to check the indicator lights if there is a problem

Customers who wish to make use of a VoIP service over the nbn connection will have additional considerations (i.e. be close to existing phone cabling). BIRRR recommends that you maintain your exisiting phone service and NOT switch to a VOiP Based service.

In order to obtain nbn fixed wireless service you must be able to receive and transmit minimum levels of wireless signal between your property and a base station. Currently a signal test reading of -99dBm is needed.    A signal of -99dBm or stronger will result in an install of nbn equipment. The lower the number the stronger the signal ie -76dBm is better than -99dBm and anything over -99dBm will be signal failure.

You may need a mast to get an nbn fixed wireless signal. This is still a ‘standard’ nbn installation, however the installer may need to come back with the right sized mast.

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All FW equipment is the property of nbn and should not be moved or adjusted.

CONNECTING YOUR FW EQUIPMENT

The next step once the nbn Fixed Wireless equipment is installed will involve connecting your Internet access equipment.  The antenna on the outside of a home will be connected by a cable running through the wall to the Network Termination Device (NTD) which will be located within the home. If you require WiFi from your nbn FW connection you will need to purchase a wireless router. BIRRR recommends purchasing a ‘plug and play’ router from your provider.

The ability to directly connect a computer to the NTD via an ethernet/LAN cable is very important (see below).

11215180_10207970317597783_3416076732512306138_nAn RSP may request that you by-pass any routers etc when testing, to ensure that any fault/problem is not with your equipment.  The ability to LAN cable connect a computer to the NTD is very important. This is how the installer commissions the service. The router enables you to connect other devices by LAN cable or WIFI to the internet.

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nbn Network Termination Device Ports

 


In the event that the ‘standard installation’ procedure fails you can consider a ‘non-standard’ install. Please read the BIRRR Notes on nbn Fixed Wireless: NON-STANDARD INSTALLATIONS

*Please note, while all care has been taken in compiling BIRRR documents, we recommend that you check with nbn or your ISP regarding your own connection issues.  Thanks to nbn for assistance in compiling this document.  Information has been obtained from nbnSkymeshWhirlpool forums and BIRRR membersThis page was updated on 15th July 2018.

 

NBN Sky Muster Satellite – the Facts

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Every residence in Australia will be able to access some form of NBN – either FIXED, FIXED WIRELESS or SATELLITE (also referred to as LTSS and Sky Muster) by 2020.  Sky Muster (Satellite) services became available in April 2016, interim nbn satellite services (ISS) have now ceased.

You can see what type of nbn you are mapped for here: NBN Rollout MAP

NBN Sky Muster Explained

There is lots of misinformation and myths surrounding the nbn rollout, you can read about some of them here:   Myths About NBN Sky Muster 

REMEMBER:

  • Every Australian residence will be eligible for a nbn connection – even if you live really remotely.
  • If you are currently using another form of internet such as mobile broadband, you are still eligible for nbn.
  • Each residence is mapped for nbn, even if you have several houses on your property.
  • If you are receiving an nbn Fixed Wireless or Satellite service, please keep your traditional landline, you do NOT have to switch your voice service, regardless of what you may be told by your existing provider.
  • Sky Muster performs very differently to the old interim satellite. The interim satellite (ISS) had approximately 48,000 subscribers – larger-than-planned-for data plans were sold and the satellite became oversubscribed resulting in the FAIR USE POLICY and reduced data and speeds for users.  The LTSS has 30 x the capacity of the ISS.
  • HOW TO CONNECT

nbn Sky Muster Satellite connections are available now.

Choose your Sky Muster provider here.

Read our Preparing for Sky Muster document.

  • ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA  

NBN satellite services are designed to provide internet services to homes and businesses that fall outside of the fixed line and fixed wireless areas in Australia and its external territories.   The new NBN satellite (LTSS/Skymuster) will reach around 240,000 homes and businesses residing in the most isolated parts of Australia, including the outback and remote offshore territories. Homes and businesses must be within the satellite footprint.

Approximately 400,000 Australians are eligible for the LTSS but NBN are expecting around 240,000 subscribers.

NBN have allowed for additional capacity in case of more subscribers than expected. A second satellite (launched in October 2016) offers future capacity cover. The Sky Muster Satellites have a life span of around 16 years.

  • DATA & PRICING  

Data Limits are up to individual RSP’s (service providers) in line with nbn fair use policy.  Internet service providers set the prices for the services available. NBN sets prices at the wholesale level and the uniform national wholesale price of $24 a month is the same for the basic 12Mbps service across fixed line/wireless/satellite.  However, satellite capacity is a finite resource, meaning that internet service providers need to manage the download limits available to customers via their pricing and terms of the plans they offer. Check out the BIRRR comparison of Sky Muster providers to see what data allowances you can access.

Sky Muster Satellite data allowances are split into Peak & Off Peak Times.

  • OFF PEAK Times*: 1am – 7am
  • PEAK Times*: 7am – 1am.
  • Hours apply to your local time zone.

*Governed by nbn™ – so will be the same with every provider.

An education port for eligible distance education and home school students is also available.  Details are listed here.

  • nbn SKY MUSTER FAIR USE POLICY                     

The nbn™ Sky Muster™ satellite service Fair Use Policy is in place to help ensure fair access to the service – especially during peak usage times. This Fair Use Policy applies between nbn and the provider.

Your provider will likely have a separate Fair Use Policy which applies to your premises – as satellite capacity is a limited resource. Some providers may have less capacity, which may not be noticed during off-peak times. But during peak hours, when there is more traffic, congestion may occur if your provider does not have enough network capacity- this can lead to slower speeds and the occasional ‘buffering’. 

nbn™ Sky Muster Fair Use Policy

  • nbn co requires each customer to limit their Data Usage to no more than 150 GB in any four week period.
  • Furthermore, nbn co requires each customer to limit their Peak Hour Data Usage to no more than 75 GB in any four week period.
  • nbn co requires all RSPs to limit their average customer Peak Hour Data Usage to no more than 30 GB of downloads and no more than 5 GB of uploads in any four week period.
  • SPEED

Sky Muster has delivered significantly improved speeds and capacity to remote and regional areas compared to what was previously available on the Interim Satellite Service (ISS). A Fair Use Policy applies on the service to ensure that performance and quality of service standards are not degraded by high-volume users. Sky Muster offers peak wholesale download speeds of up to 25Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5 Mbps. Consult with your provider as to what speed tier will best suit you.

Speeds actually achieved over the Sky Muster network, depend on the technology over which services are delivered to premises and some factors outside nbn control like equipment quality, software, broadband plans and how the end user’s service provider designs its network.

  • EQUIPMENT

Once you place an order for Sky Muster with your chosen provider, a nbn technician will make an appointment to install the  equipment needed (a roof or pole mounted dish and an internal modem).    A standard installation of the equipment is currently free. However, end users should ask their preferred provider if they have any other fees such as activation fees or fees for routers etc as each provider currently differs.  If you require wifi from your Sky Muster service you will need to have a compatible router, contact your provider to discuss your options.

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  • VOICE

Homes and businesses with Sky Muster connections can use VoIP services, if this is supported by their retail service provider. However unlike the fibre offering, the satellite terminating box inside a premises doesn’t include a port to plug in a phone. You will need a router to plug in your VOIP compatible phone.

It is important to remember copper and traditional phone services (such as HCRC, Radio phones & NGWL) will still be maintained in areas to be served by fixed wireless and satellite, so customers have the option of retaining their existing phone service.  BIRRR recommends keeping your existing landline.

Footnote: All information compiled from BIRRR discussions with NBN contacts & NBN website, and is current as at 17/08/18

NBN SKY MUSTER FACTS DOCUMENT prepared by Kristy Sparrow for BIRRR updated 17/08/18