I just got NBN and it’s so slow!

Sound familiar? Don’t panic; we can help you sort it out.

With lots of people in the Fremantle area now able to get onto NBN, many are holding off because they hear all these horror stories of people having issues. Generally speaking the NBN is fantastic. Sure, it isn’t as good as it could have been if they’d rolled out fibre optic cables to everyone’s houses, but it’s still almost always a hell of a lot better than ADSL.

If you are having issues on your NBN connection, the following information will be of particular interest to you.

First things first: run a speed test

Connect your computer to the internet, preferably via an Ethernet/LAN cable if possible.  If you must test on Wi-Fi, try to test with your laptop/phone as close to the modem as practical. It can be possible that your home Wi-Fi is slow but the internet is fast; being close to the modem reduces that factor.

Open a web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari, Google Chrome, Firefox etc.) and go to www.speedtest.net, then wait until it’s loaded. If you are on a mobile phone then you can get the “speedtest” app from the app store or Google play store. Once loaded click the big GO in the middle of the screen.

This will test three factors:

  • Ping (or latency) – measured in missing seconds (ms) – is how long it takes for a signal to travel from your computer to the server. It should be between 9ms and 25ms. Consistently high ping times can indicate an issue.
  • Download speed – in Mbps (Mega-bits-per-second) – is how quickly you can get information from the internet. This is the main parameter that most people see as the speed of your internet. It’s how quickly that web page, picture, video can be viewed on your device.
  • Upload speed – also in Mbps – how quickly you can send data to the internet, and this includes requesting information, sending emails and more.


Typical 25/5 speedtest

Once you have these figures compare them to the plan you are on with your ISP. When you sign up for NBN you have a choice of what speeds you want. This is expressed in download/upload i.e.: 12/1, 25/5, 50/20 or 100/40.

Many people feel their internet is slow when they are getting exactly what they are paying for. In the above case the two tests are showing very different speeds because of the plans they are on. If you are not sure which plan you are on check your bill or call your internet service provider (ISP).

Factors affecting your NBN speeds

The plan you are on

If you are only paying for 12/1 or 25/5 Mbps, which are usually the default plans, then that is the best you will get. It doesn’t matter if you live inside an NBN node, have the best modem in the word and perfect wiring, it is never going to be faster than the plan you have chosen.

Your internet provider/time of the day

Some providers suck. They purchase some bandwidth from NBN Co and then sell it to WAY too many people, spreading it so thin that it’s barely there. This makes the internet super slow in peak times (4 pm – 11pm typically) and is very noticeable. At home I used to get up to 90 Mbps but from 6pm to 11pm it would plummet to 3 Mbps! Totally useless, unable to use Netflix or even google. If this is your issue, complain to your provider (loudly) and if not rectified, promptly change providers. Failure to provide the service you are paying for is a breach of contract so it won’t matter if you are in a two year contract they will have to let you go. Some people are hesitant to change providers in fear of losing their email address.

The good news is that all providers now offer an “email only” option. This is typically $20-$30 a year to keep your existing email address.

Internal house wiring

It’s so common for your phone line in the house not to be optimally set up. If you have more than one phone point in the house, the NBN can get very confused and may run slowly. If the lines in your house are corroded, eaten by rodents, melted, burnt or generally in a poor shape, then speeds will be slow.

This is VERY easy to sort this out for a communications person or electrician – we recommend Scott from Stressless Communication for rectification. They will come in and test all the internal wiring, get up in the roof space and work their magic. Some clients have had over 600% speed improvement follow a visit from Scott and his team. We have personally used them for our own houses and been super impressed.

Modem/wifi setup

A good modem will work better than a cheap one. Bad Wi-Fi hardware makes the internet slow on Wi-Fi. These are usually very easy situations to rectify. Talk to us at Bentech Computers and we will happily recommend some good hardware to suit your property and unique requirements.

Lots of users

Remember the speed you get on your NBN plan is shared with everyone in the house; that includes each phone, tablet, computer, TV and more. If you have two kids with iPads who are streaming movies, plus a parent gaming and another parent on Facebook your bandwidth will be divided up between all users. Considering Netflix on one device can potentially use up to 16 Mbps. The above scenario could be using up to 77 Mbps. A family in this situation with a 25/5 Mbps plan is not going to be very happy.

Distance from the node and line quality

These factors are out of your control. The further you are away from the node the less maximum speed you will be able to obtain. If your phone line is in poor condition you will also get slower maximum speeds. Bentech Computers can run a site qualification (SQ) on your address for you and this will tell us the minimum and maximum download speeds you should be getting. If your speed falls within this range it’s working as well as it can; it is what it is. For example if we did a SQ and it showed 33-45 Mbps download and you are getting 38 Mbps line speed, then upgrading to a 100/40 plan will not get you any more than the 33-45 Mbps you already have. If you want us to check your house for you, call us anytime on 9430 2943 or email sales@bentech.com.au and we will happily do.

At the end of the day, an NBN connection should be a massive improvement and potentially HEAPS faster than your old ADSL connection and you should be loving it, once it’s all working as it should be.


Ben D'Silva

Ben D'Silva is the manager of Bentech Computers on Wray Ave in Fremantle. They specialise in Apple Mac repairs as well as PC repairs and business networking. They love helping out with any and all IT issues and have been serving the Fremantle community for over 20 years. If you ever need any help with anything computer related and the friendly guys at Bentech will be always happy to help. For more information, check out their website.