nbn® Fixed Wireless
What is nbn Fixed Wireless?
This page provides information about the fixed wireless connections provided by nbn. It is a different technology to mobile broadband.Image credit: BIRRR
The internet signal is beamed from the provider’s base tower to an nbn outdoor antenna that has been fitted to your roof by an approved nbn installer. Fixed Wireless services are provided by both nbn and by independent suppliers, often called wireless internet service providers or WISPs (see non-nbn Fixed Wireless).
For nbn Fixed Wireless you need to have “line of sight” (LoS) to and currently be less than *14km from, the serving nbn wireless tower. Other factors, such as local vegetation, tree density, mountains, hills, or even major building setups, can prevent achieving a sufficiently strong signal. The *14km distance is a maximum range, and your actual required distance may be less, depending on local factors.
Fixed Wireless connections also require an nbn connection box to be installed at the point where the cable from the nbn outdoor antenna enters your premises. This box requires power to operate and can also only be installed by an approved nbn installer.
Can I get Fixed Wireless?
Use the nbn roll-out map to check your address and find what nbn services are available in your location. The nbn Fixed Wireless and Satellite upgrade program is currently being rolled out. If you cannot find your address in the roll-out map, or it indicates you do not currently have a service, use the prompt below the map to subscribe for further updates. If you are not able to connect to Fixed Wireless through a standard or non-standard installation, you will be offered an nbn Satellite service.
If your address doesn’t map or display correctly on the nbn address checker, you can use our Connectivity Report service to find out your options.
The upgrade, expected to be complete by December 2024, will include the following:
- Extension of nbn Fixed Wireless: Enhanced coverage and extended maximum range for some nbn Fixed Wireless towers will result in the expansion of the nbn Fixed Wireless footprint coverage by up to 50 per cent enabling approximately 120,000 former satellite-only eligible premises to access nbn Fixed Wireless services. The current maximum range for nbn Fixed Wireless connections is just over *14 km, due to technology limitations based on how long it takes Fixed Wireless signals or radio waves to travel through the air. New software innovations have allowed nbn to test the reliability of connections over longer distances, and these tests have established the range can be extended to at least 29km in many areas (dependent on topography and other factors).
- Improvements to nbn Fixed Wireless typical wholesale busy hour speed: nbn Fixed Wireless network improvements are also expected to allow the network to achieve ‘typical wholesale busy period speeds’ of at least 50Mbps (download).
- Faster Fixed Wireless wholesale speeds: Consultation on this process has now been completed. There are now two Fixed Wireless options to consider. Fixed Wireless nbn® Home Fast1 is expected to be available to 100 per cent of the expanded Fixed Wireless coverage area and be capable of delivering a wholesale peak information rate of 100-130 Mbps download speed and an upload speed of 8-20 Mbps. Fixed Wireless nbn® Superfast1 is expected to be available to approximately 85 per cent of the expanded Fixed Wireless coverage area and be capable of delivering a wholesale peak information rate of 200-325 Mbps download speed and an upload speed of 8-20 Mbps. To see if one of these options would suit your needs and is available in your area, you should contact your preferred RSP.
- Enhanced data limits and network performance on nbn Sky Muster: For the homes and small businesses that remain on nbn Satellite, nbn Sky Muster Plus is now unmetered for access to Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and video streaming 16 hours a day – between 12am (midnight) and 4pm – without it counting toward eligible customers’ monthly data allowance.
The off-peak 16-hour period for unmetered data is between midnight to 4pm per day (which was an increase from the previous 6-hour off-peak period which ran from 1am – 7am). NBN Co may, at its discretion, shape traffic (in particular, gaming/ software updates and cloud uploads in the evening) to slow wholesale speeds. Fair use conditions apply.
Outages will be required for these upgrades, and nbn will provide information to RSPs outlining times of impact, for RSPs to pass on to their customers. Information will also be provided through social media advertising, and directly through the nbn Facebook page and the outage page on their website.
You can find out more about the nbn Fixed Wireless and Satellite upgrade program here.
Physical issues with connection
While you may be within 14km from a tower, wireless signals can be blocked or disrupted by vegetation, heavy trees cover, hills/mountains, tall buildings, and other factors that may prevent you from physically seeing the tower. It may be possible to work around this with a tall enough pole or mast.
You must also be able to receive and send a certain wireless signal strength between your property and a base station.
- Wireless strength is measured in dBm (decibel-milliwatts), with a minus sign in front.
- The lower the number – that is, the closer the number is to zero – the stronger the signal.
- For example, -76dBm is better than -99dBm.
- Anything over -99dBm will be “signal failure”.
- A test signal of -99dBm or stronger should give you a successful nbn connection.
*The 14km zone is expanding to 29km in certain locations as the nbn Fixed Wireless upgrade is rolled out.
Understanding Fixed Wireless plans
Plans are supplied by individual internet service providers, or RSPs, not directly through nbn.
You can either check individual plans on the suppliers’ websites or use a comparison site such as:
Note that while useful, comparison sites may be funded by providers’ advertising fees. They may not provide a comprehensive review of all available services in your area.
nbn Fixed Wireless is available in a range of speeds from a range of providers. Plans will offer download speeds from 12Mbps up 75Mbps for downloads, and from 1Mbps up to 10Mbps for uploads.
The speeds that you can you get at home will depend on:
- Which nbn provider and plan you sign up for.
- How many people in your area are online and connected to the Fixed Wireless tower during peak hours (7pm – 11pm).
- Any objects that may block the signal between your home and the nbn Fixed Wireless tower, such as tall trees.
Talk to your internet service providers for more information on what speeds you can expect from your service.
Visit our Understand an internet plan page for further information on choosing an internet provider.
Standard and non-standard Fixed Wireless setups
nbn Fixed Wireless setup – standard
nbn Fixed Wireless signal installations require the installation of two pieces of nbn-owned equipment at your premises: the indoor unit (NTD) and the outdoor unit (ODU).
Image credit: nbn
The first step is to place an order with the internet provider of your choice. The provider will make an appointment for an nbn installer to visit your premises and test for a Fixed Wireless signal in a suitable location.
The installer may put the nbn outdoor antenna on the roof of the main premises, under the eaves, or on a wall. This antenna can also be put on powered buildings (like a shed or garage) close to the main premises, with the nbn connection box inside the same building. You will be required to buy the appropriate “Point to Point” (PtP) equipment to beam the signal back to the building requiring the connection. nbn won’t supply this equipment.
The ODU may need to be on a mast to achieve the best signal (1.5m or 3m are the current nbn approved mast heights for a standard install). nbn will supply the mast, however the installer may need to order it in and arrange another install appointment. This is still considered a standard installation.
The indoor unit (also known as the connection box, or network termination device (NTD) needs to be installed on a wall in a sheltered, dry area with access to power. The indoor unit is 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.
The best place for your NTD is one that is:
- near the 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 (avoid putting your NTD behind a cupboard, under a desk or in a difficult-to-reach location).
Connecting your fixed wireless equipment
Once the nbn Fixed Wireless equipment is installed, you can connect your internet access equipment.
Image credit: BIRRR
You can then connect your computer directly to the NTD via an ethernet cable, or via a piece of equipment called a router.
Routers are particularly useful for broadcasting a wireless (wifi) signal throughout your premises. Any wifi-enabled equipment, including laptops, computers, phones, tablets, printers, sensors, televisions, and so on, can then connect to this wifi signal, and through that access the Internet.
Your service provider can supply you with a suitable router for your if you don’t already have one.
nbn Fixed Wireless setup – non-standard
If you are unable to receive a suitable Fixed Wireless signal at your main premises for a standard installation, a non-standard installation may be possible. This must be cleared by nbn for your property before they are installed.
A pole mount is established at a location no more than 70 metres from the building where you want nbn fixed wireless installed. A location will be determined by your installer and cabling is run from the pole mount and outdoor unit to the building and NTD. This process can take several visits, with nbn paying for the cost of the cabling and pole.
nbn Fixed Wireless setup – Solar Mount Solution
If you are unable to receive a suitable Fixed Wireless signal at the main buildings on your property but can in another location on your property, do not want a satellite connection, and nbn determines that the above non-standard installation is not possible, you may be able to engage a third-party vendor to design and build a complying Solar Mount Solution for you. This installation can be expensive and there are a number of steps that must be completed in sequence as well as guidelines from nbn (to obtain a copy of the guidelines, please contact nbn here). While nbn will pay for and are responsible for the indoor and outdoor component equipment such as the NTD and antenna, they will not pay for any other required equipment or installation as part of this connection, including any WiFi point-to-point links.
A third-party Solar Mount Solution comprises of solar panels, an outdoor enclosure (housing the nbn connection box, power supply equipment and batteries), Wi-Fi point-to-point links (which transmits the service from the Solar Mount Solution to the main premises), and a fixed concrete base with a mounted pole where the nbn outdoor antenna would be installed. Once you have engaged a vendor of your choice to design and build the Solar Mount Solution and complete any WiFi point-to-point connections (at your cost) in accordance with the nbn Guidelines, you can contact your preferred phone and internet provider to connect to the nbn network and they should arrange for an nbn approved installer to call you and organise a visit to your premises to connect you to the nbn fixed wireless network. Nbn are not responsible for installing or maintaining the Solar Mount Solution.
Two companies currently providing these types of connections are:
Image credit: AgCloud. An example of a solar-powered pole mount non-standard nbn Fixed Wireless connection.
For further information on non-standard connections: