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The Best (And Worst) NBN Modems In Australia

The Australian Communications and Media Authority has studied how well modems used to supply NBN coverage perform, finding many of them incapable of achieving 100mbps speeds offered by the NBN, especially over Wi-Fi.

The study aimed to identify how modem performance might affect the consumer’s experience when using NBN internet services or transferring data over their local network (such as with a NAS drive).

Testing conducted late last year examined modems being sold in major retailers and provided by retail service providers using the NBN.

Of the models sold by retailers, the Billion 8700NEXL N300 ($115) provided the worst DSL download speeds at 500 metres, returning a 61mbps speed, followed by the DrayTek Vigor DV130 ($140) and the TP-Link TD-W9970 ($88) which both returned 65mbps.

The Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 R7000 ($268), ASUS DSL-AC88U AC 3100 ($549) and Billion BIPAC8700AXL Triple-WAN ($189) had the best speeds, with 80, 81, and 82mbps respectively.

The Billion BIPAC8700AXL Triple-WAN was also the best over a long range using the 5gHz band, reaching a speed of 188mbps from 50 metres away.

The upload wall of shame was filled by the Netgear DM200 ($75) with a speed of 27mbps, the Netgear AC2600 Nighthawk D7800 X4S ($399) and the Billion 8700NEXL N300 ($115) which both returned upload speeds of 28mbps.

The tests found that overall DSL performance was largely similar across devices tested, but Wi-Fi performance varied dramatically.

The ASUS DSL-AC52U AC750 ($139) produced the best speeds over Wi-Fi using the 2.4gHz band with a speed of 157mbps, still well below the manufacturer’s claimed speed of 300mbps.

The Netgear AC1600 D6400 ($225) was the slowest on the band with a speed of 49 mbps.

The fastest 5gHz Wi-Fi device was the TP-Link Archer AC2800 ($349) with a recorded speed of 628mbps while the slowest was the D-Link AC750 DSL-2877AL ($156) with a speed of 75mbps.

The ASUS DSL-AC68U AC1900 ($269) had the best long range performance on the 2.4gHz band, reaching a speed of 10mbps over 50 metres.

Nine of the 26 retail devices returned 0mbps on 2.4GgHz over 50 metres, but most fared better over the 5gHz band, with the exception of the Netgear AC1600 D6400 ($225) which returned 0mbps on both bands.

The testing was conducted by independent tester Enex under a range of conditions designed “to emulate as closely as possible the operating conditions of a consumer’s typical home environment”.

The findings showed that more expensive devices don’t necessarily return better performance, but 5gHz capable equipment consistently performed better than devices on the 2.4gHz band.

A number of the tested devices were only capable of reaching 100mbps speeds, like the kinds claimed in the NBN’s premium bundles, over wired DSL.

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