Internet Connection: What Are The Different Types of Internet Service

Joshua Chadwick By Joshua Chadwick May 16th

When it comes to utilities, it can seem like a lot of services have become convoluted over time, and none more so than internet connections.

With all the different buzzwords and internet jargon, your brain starts to spin before you can open Netflix for the evening. From NBN to satellite and of course wi-fi, internet services are becoming more and more difficult to understand for those who are out of the internet service loop.

Thankfully, at MyConnect, we know a thing or two about utilities and an internet connection, so let’s take a look and dive into the different types of Australian internet service.

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Wire Networks

Fibre Internet (NBN)

Optical fibre has become the premier use of the internet in Australia, due to the upgrading push of the National Broadband Network (NBN).

Utilising the previous cable network that existed, the fibre network was implemented in Australia as a way to offer faster download speeds in comparison to its metal or hybrid connection brothers and sisters. These speeds can reach up to hundreds of gigabits per second, typically rounding up to 100Mbps (megabits per second).

These optical fibres boast greater advantages than their copper wiring counterparts, showcasing a higher data transmission rate (greater bandwidth) and being more reliable, so there’s less need to troubleshoot or fix an outage. Due to the glass cable made of optical fibre, the cables inserted into the glass casing allow less risk of mixing signals due to its electromagnetic interference immunity.

While fibre internet provides many benefits, it also costs a pretty penny. This is why the NBN plan piggybacks off the previous cable network and mixes with the existing technology. Thankfully, once the fibre is installed, the cables need little maintenance to stay connected to the World Wide Web.

For more information on NBN connection types (FTTB, FTTC, FTTN & FTTP), and how you can connect to NBN in Australia, check out our page about it here.

Cable Internet

Cable internet was considered the be-all and end-all broadband connection in Australia until the pure fibre connection became the connection of choice.

Hybrid fibre-coaxial (HFC) is the technical term used to describe cable internet, as it consists of a network utilising the aforementioned fast fibre optic cables in combination with the slower coaxial cables, forming a hybrid network. Coaxial cables are copper cables with two layers, consisting of a copper wire and a surrounding copper sheath.

The hybrid cable network was implemented and designed to carry fixed wireless radio signals (internet and pay TV) with no interference from phone signals. The network was designed exclusively to assist large file downloads and data-heavy services like the Internet and digital TV (Foxtel for example). HFC network is distinct in this way from the Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL), as that form of internet connection follows existing copper phone lines.

Maximum download speeds could also reach 100mbps like the fibre network but typically sat around 50 Mbps or less due to congestion on the network and older hardware that the cables ran through.

As mentioned earlier, the cable network is still used to this day in conjunction with the NBN fibre cables, yet many opt for the fibre network making the internet connection less common.

ADSL Internet

Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) is another iteration of the wired network, which boasts high-speed home internet utilising copper phone lines over the dial-up internet of the time.

While ADSL technology connects with existing copper phone lines, a device called a DSL filter allows the telephone voice signals to separate from the digital data needed for internet access. This technology allows the chance to use both home internet and a phone line with little to no interference.

ADSL is cheaper than its cable counterparts and has access to thousands of kilometres full of copper phone lines embedded in the ground, simply needing a DSL filter to get the connection running.

However, ADSL has been phased out in favour of faster cable connections, with max download speeds only reaching 24Mbps and upload speeds of 2.2Mbps (that’s in addition to the upgraded ADSL2+). Several internet service providers (ISPs) are no longer offering ADSL broadband plans as ISPs continue to push the NBN rollout.

Wireless Networks

Wireless Internet

While the name suggests a simple Wi-Fi network, a fixed home wireless connection is anything but simple. For starters, a fixed wireless connection requires an outdoor antenna connected to the home.

The NBN offers an NBN Fixed Wireless connections option that operates through radio signals which the antenna uses to pick up the signals needed for connection speeds. Of course, an NBN connection box is required to be in the home connected to the antenna cable to operate.

This Wi-Fi connection requires an authorised installer to set up the home connection, similar to satellite internet. Fixed wireless internet allows for a seamless connection with no use of cables running through the ground.

An issue surrounding wireless internet is that not all ISPs will offer NBN Fixed Wireless connections, so it limits options and choices. Wireless internet will often have slower internet speeds in comparison to a wired ethernet connection straight to the modem/router.

Satellite Internet

Satellite internet is internet delivered to the home via satellite (pretty simple, right?). Similar to the aforementioned fixed wireless connection, satellite internet requires a satellite dish to be installed in the home or building. In addition to the dish, a compatible device is needed in the home (i.e. modem, router, etc.)

This satellite Internet connection transmits data to and from the dish, allowing satellite ground stations to connect the home with a wireless broadband connection via ISPs.

The NBN rollout in Australia also boasts satellite internet, focussing on SkyMuster satellite to connect regional and remote areas across the country. Satellite, unfortunately, yields the same negatives as wireless connection, bringing limited choice in ISPs and a slower speed in comparison to wired connections.

Those venturing outside of SkyMuster can also look towards Starlink, another satellite internet provider that has recently veered its head into the Australian market. Starlink, engineered by SpaceX, is independent and still in beta, so those looking to connect to the more expensive internet plan will need to install it themselves.

Mobile Internet

In stark contrast to the wireless counterparts, mobile internet focuses on a mobile network varying from 4G connection to 5G. While terminology can change, the access stays the same and is achieved over several devices.

In comparison to the typical home wireless broadband, mobile broadband is shown through a data-only SIM plan, providing a certain allowance of data types over a month. A SIM card will then be used to connect the user to the mobile network.

These SIM cards can be directly inserted into a mobile device or they can be implanted in a dongle device to be used on a desktop computer. SIM cards won’t be required for a plan with a modem, as the modem will allow the connection of devices over a wireless connection.

This form of connection, while powerful, is used primarily as a source of the internet while travelling and should not be used as a primary connection over the more powerful home internet plans.

Get Connected Today

Now that the lay of the internet land is settled, you can start looking to connect your own internet in the home, which luckily we can help with!

We’d hate for you to miss out on streaming your favourite music or shows in your new home, simply because your internet isn’t connected. When we help you arrange internet for your new home here’s what you can expect:

  • We’ll find the strongest connection for you – an NBN specialist will review all the services our partners provide in your local area to help you find the strongest internet connection in your new home.
  • We offer a wide range of phone plans – so if you love to talk on the phone, we’ll help you find a plan that suits your lifestyle.

If you need help getting your other utilities connected sorted, please call MyConnect on 1300 854 478 or use the Get Connected form here! All residents from Victoria (VIC), Queensland (QLD), New South Wales (NSW), Australian Capital Territory (ACT), and South Australia (SA) can get connected today. If you’re a first-time home buyer and you’re unsure about using a utility connection company, this post here can assist you.

Joshua Chadwick
Joshua Chadwick