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ACMA: Modems Struggle With 100Mbps NBN FTTN

Research commissioned by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) reveals several modems struggled to deliver 100 Mbps download speeds via the average fibre to the node connection.

Disclosed a public report, ACMA found 43 modems tested (from 11 brands and 10 ISPs) struggled to notch 100/40 Mbps broadband speeds over the average 450m copper run.

The ACMA-commissioned study analysed the performance of an NBN-based service, coupled with overall Wi-Fi performance.

The study confirmed Wi-Fi performance is significantly affected by “interference, obstacles and the frequency that it operates on”, with 5 GHz trumping 2.4 GHz coverage.

“Telcos and modem suppliers need to provide good advice to consumers about the features and performance of individual modems, especially Wi-Fi performance,” asserts ACMA Chair, Nerida O’Loughlin.

“Consumers should also ask their telco about the performance they can expect from the modem supplied to deliver their service.”

Commentators claim the study could have ramifications for modem manufacturers, prompting clearer guidelines on the advertisement of feasible speeds.

The report found a notable performance drop at the 450m copper mark, with a third of local fibre-to-the-node (FttN) NBN connections exceeding 400m.

The study attributes the performance discrepancy to an incompatibility between a users’ modem and their Wi-Fi connected device.

“Better Wi-Fi performance, and consequently better NBN performance, would be achieved by choosing a device using the 802.11ac standard (or next generation 802.11ax, also known as Wi-Fi 6) operating in the 5 GHz band,” reads the report.

“The outcomes of the study have informed the preparation of practical consumer information and guidance to assist consumers in making well-informed decisions in purchasing, setting up and using Wi-Fi modems.”

Read the full report here.


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