nbn Fixed Wireless

This page provides information about the fixed wireless connections provided by nbn Co.

What is Fixed Wireless?

It is a different technology to mobile broadband.Chart showing the difference between fixed wireless and mobile broadband

Image credit: BIRRR

The internet signal is beamed from the provider’s base tower to an antenna on your roof. Fixed Wireless services are provided by both nbn™ and by independent suppliers, often called wireless internet service providers or WISPs.

For nbn™ Fixed Wireless you need to have “line of sight” (LoS) 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, hills, or even major building setups, can prevent a sufficiently strong signal being achieved. 14 km is an absolute maximum and may be less, depending on local factors.

Fixed Wireless

Picture with text. Text reads: Fixed wireless. Your internet connection comes from your service provider to a tower. The tower then sends the signal to the antenna on your building. The antenna connects to the indoor modem, which routes the internet to all your devices (laptop, desktop, phone, desktop, weather station, and so on).

Data travels from a transmission tower located as far as 14 kilometres away, to an nbn™ outdoor antenna that has been fitted to the premises by an approved nbn™ installer.

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 only be installed by an approved nbn™ installer.

Can I get Fixed Wireless?

Use the nbn™ roll out map to find what nbn™ services are available in your location.

  • This will identify what nbn™ services are in your region.
  • If your address doesn’t map or display correctly on the nbn address checker, you can use our Desk Check service.

Wireless signals can be blocked or disrupted by vegetation, heavy trees cover, hills/mountains, tall buildings, and other factors that may prevent you 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.

Understanding Fixed Wireless plans

Plans are supplied by individual internet service providers.

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.

Speed

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:

  1. Which nbn provider and plan you sign up for
  2. How many people in your area are online and connected to the Fixed Wireless tower during peak hours (7pm – 11pm)
  3. 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 information on choosing an internet provider.

nbn™ Fixed Wireless setup – standard

nbn ™ Fixed Wireless signal installations require that two pieces of nbn™-owned equipment are installed at your premises: the indoor unit (NTD) and the outdoor unit (ODU).

Diagram of nbn fixed wireless setup

Image credit: nbn

You will first need to place an order with the internet provider of your choice. The provider will make an appointment for an nbn™ installer to attend the premises and test for a Fixed Wireless signal in a suitable location at your place.

The installer may put the nbn™ outdoor antenna on the roof of the main premises, under the eaves, or on a wall. The outdoor 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.

The ODU may need to be on a mast in order 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 a standard installation.

The indoor unit (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 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.

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.

A diagram of nbn fixed wire equipment

Image credit: BIRRR

 

You will either 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 connect to this wifi signal, and thus access the Internet.

Your service provider can supply you with a good router for your purposes, if you don’t already have one.

nbn™ Fixed Wireless setup – non-standard

There are two currently approved types of nbn Fixed Wireless non-standard installations.

Both must be approved by nbn before they’re installed.

  1. A pole mount located 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.
  2. Installed on on a shed, or other solid structure, with power. You will be required to buy the appropriate “Point to Point Equipment” (PtP) to beam the signal back to the building requiring the connection. nbn won’t supply this equipment.

Some suppliers are trialling solar pole mount non-standard nbn Fixed Wireless connections.

While effective, they can be very expensive to set up. and require extra approval to a standard install. nbn will not cover the cost of these sorts of connections.

Image credit: AgCloud

Two such companies providing connections are:

Links for help with non-standard connections:

More information