Malcolm Turnbull Speed Tests Fibre To The Node

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull is out and about today. He's on the Central Coast of NSW testing a new fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) site in a little community called Umina, and the speed test is actually pretty impressive.

"Seeing is believing," Turnbull tweeted earlier, producing a speed test of 94Mbps down and 36Mbps up. What's curious about this is the ping speed: 32ms seems high compared to fibre-to-the-premise which produces around the same speed. One would assume with speeds like that you'd be getting sub-10ms.

Another interesting thing is where Mr Martin McInnes lives in relation to the fibre cabinet he's connecting to.

Curious indeed.



    More information is needed for this to have much meaning. I don't think anybody is saying that FTTN isn't capable of being fast just that it is still based on luck, which is a pretty shit way to build a national infrastructure project.

      This is the "best-case-scenario" and the limit of copper currently.
      If using all the tricks and pushing physics to it's limits attains only this speed then what the hell are you boasting for Malcolm?

      Let's set up a FTTP over the same distance as this trial or even 100 times further and you will see speeds that incinerate these numbers and are far from being at the limits of the technology ie: huge room to grow in the future.

        Seems that way. I'd much rather some realistic testing. How is it gonna go with shit copper far away from the node? I bet they won't publish those numbers.

        "Hey, look! Connected directly to the node with pristine copper, I can get speeds that rival FTTP. I told you real-world testing would turn out fine."

        As someone who lives near Umina, I'm worried.

          Too far from the node? We will just build more ugly green boxes in your neighbourhood out of taxpayers...I mean...hrm...nevermind scratch that. You just have to trust us, we are your government and we know best!

      More information is needed indeed. But i don't disagree with the FTTN approach as the first phase of the NBN. Lets get everyone in Australia (where practicable) ADSL2 speeds. Once the back bone infrastructure is complete the nation can worry about getting the fibre to the premise. There are so many difficulties to overcome to get the last bit of cable to the home i.e. contractors digging up driveways, piping etc etc. That is a pretty big and unknown cost. Ultimate goal is FTTP but initial infrastructure should be FTTN.

        I tried to tell myself this at first so I understand why you'd think that but I'm pretty sure 2 separate rollouts would double up a lot of different costs. Doing it right in a single rollout makes more sense.

          I always forget that so. Mobilisation costs of labour etc. It does make sense from a construction point of view. Just need to find a happy medium then.

    Was he directly connected to the node?

    Last edited 22/08/14 9:43 am

      I'd like to think this a PC directly plugged into the node, but that would be needlessly cynical...

        I'd like to think this a PC directly plugged into the node, but that would be needlessly cynical...

        I don't think it is, if they are not going to give us the details about where the computer is located in relation to the node and whether or not they are using new copper or not, it's up to us to speculate how far he would want to go to sell fiber to the node, since it was his idea.

        He is probably standing beside the node which is located in front of a Telstra exchange and has a laptop connected directly to the node.

          ZDNet article says 190m, which is undoubtedly shorter than most customers will see, but not unreasonable.

          This result is pretty much as expected for an "up to" figure, not an average of course. Upload is better than I thought, ping is worse, but in all it's decent enough by today's standards.

          Of course today's standards aren't the issue. By the time most of us get this (~5 years, or never for me since I'm in a cable area), 100 Mbps will be considered "adequate", and the typical speed of (say) ~20 Mbps will be as crappy as 4 Mbps is today. In another 5 years even 100Mpbs will be pathetic, and most customers will be screaming for upgrades (and being told to pay $20k each for a direct fibre connection).

          40% annual growth in bandwidth demand, people. That's the number that makes a mockery of FttN.

            It is indeed shorter than most people will see. Based on the line length estimates created by that would be about 15% of properties (or less).

    This cubic zirconia is everything as good as a diamond at 2-thirds the price!
    You just KNOW your wife will respect you more for spending 66% of the price of a diamond on an inferior copy that can never become a diamond.

    Is this an analogy or a metaphor? I never can tell.

      not really because diamond are infact not rare at all and their worth is massivily inflated due to Debeers owning almost every single diamond mine on the planet.



    Also, premiss. Logic. a proposition supporting or helping to support a conclusion.

    a house or building, together with its land and outbuildings, occupied by a business or considered in an official context.

    Shit this continued misuse makes me angry!

      Mr "Vajj" you need to watch the following it would resonate with you.

    This speed is the best case scenario while FTTP is upgradeable to 1Gbps or more.

      NBNCo already offer 1Gbps over fibre to ISPs. Shame none have made it available to customers. :(

    And I'm guessing that Mr McInnes loves the new big green box sitting on his front lawn?
    "I no longer have to look out my front window to see what's going on outside" he said.. "the only thing I can see is green no matter what the time of day!"

    I'd be happy if Turnbull could guarantee that to every household getting FTTN and HFC. How much are we going to be relying on how good the copper cable they're buying off telstra is? How much contention will we get on the HFC at peak times?

    32ms ping? Terrible! I get low 30s on my current ADSL2 service, going to Sydney servers (based in southern NSW)

      Do you understand what a "ping" is?

      Do you understand that it has nothing to do with speed?

      Do you understand that it is a measurement of the amount of time it takes a single packet of data to travel from the computer through the network to the server, the server to see and process the the request, reply and then the reply's journey back through the network back to the computer and that it has next to no impact on anything.

      Do you understand that any variance in ping of less than 20-30 ms are unable to be perceived by the human brain?

        Latency is important if you have a protocol that blocks on round trips. If you have a 100Mb/s connection, then 30ms of latency means you have roughly 300 kilobytes of data in flight. If you are dealing with relatively small transfers (e.g. when browsing the web, where the download of each resource can trigger downloads of more resources), this makes a noticeable difference.

        Now whether this is at all relevant to the FTTN rollout is another matter. The image shows that the server the ping test is using is in Sydney, which Google says is 85 km away by road. We'd need more information to know whether this is normal for the location, and how much has to do with the FTTN gear and how much to do with back haul to Sydney.

          In other words. . . imagine two vehicles driving down the road to deliver a package to a house.
          One is a truck, one is a mini.
          They both travel at the same speed, so the package gets to the house at the same time.
          But, If its a bunch of packages the truck can take it all in one hit, but the mini has to make numerous trips.

          This is why the NBN wont make any difference to online gaming. The information required to play online could fit in the glove box.

            To make the analogy fit better to the round-trip bound protocols, imagine that you've only got one truck or mini and it needs to return to the depot after each delivery to your house.

            If your package fits into the mini, then there is no benefit to using the truck for delivery: you are limited by the distance from the depot (i.e. the latency). You might not want to move house though, so this could be a bit difficult. The retailer can reduce this problem a bit by having multiple geographically dispersed depots, and ship a customer's package from the closest one though (i.e. use a CDN).

        In interactive use, not only would 20-30ms latency be easily perceivable by the human brain, it would be downright annoying.

        Do you understand that latency can have a big impact on many things?

          So wantching tv at 30 frames/second you can see the flicker between frames?

            What's your point?

            That has no relevance to interactive use, such as typing in a terminal.

            The difference between 10 ping and 30 ping is terribly obvious to anyone who has ever tried to play Counter Strike online.

            That's a false analogy. As an example, consider your web browser loading this web page:

            1. first the HTML is requested.
            2. Once the HTML starts to arrive, the browser notices that there are style sheets, scripts and images referenced in the page, and kicks off downloads for these (some of these downloads will be serialised if there are too many requests to a particular host).
            3. When the stylesheets are downloaded, the browser notices that it uses images to style parts of the page, so goes off to download those too.
            4. When the downloaded scripts run, they add to the page resulting in more downloads. Some parts such as the "recently on lifehacker/kotaku/whatever" box are iframes that download another HTML page, effectively starting the process again.

            So you end up paying the latency price multiple times just for the simple act of opening a web page. With the effect multiplied like this, it really is noticeable.

    thats only one home? what happens if everyone is on it. I think the speed will drop.

      Only if there is cross-talk between phone lines, or an insufficiently fast connection up from the node. The former is possible, but (to my understanding) doesn't actually happen significantly. The latter is a problem for FTTP as well, really, except it is the connection to the fibre convergence point
      rather than the node that matters.

      Not saying FTTN is is a good solution. I think it is rubbish. However, it doesn't suffer the same type of shared-resource problems as HFC.

    Wow who would have guessed that FTTN performs well under ideal controlled conditions? What about people with a long copper lead to their property? And the people in an HFC area who won't be upgraded at all? (The Coaliton considers cable internet 'next-gen').

    Don't fall for Turnbull's party tricks. Labor's NBN was about a ubiquitous high speed fibre connection for the majority of Australians. The Coalition's NBN isn't even worthy of the name as only a fraction of Australia will see speeds like this. The joke is that it will barely save any money at all choosing to build FTTN over FTTP and once its finished it will be outdated and require upgrading to FTTP anyway (making it more expensive in the long run).

      ideal controlled conditions 200m from the node?
        200m from the node IS ideal. At a mere 500 metres from the node, achievable speed will be about half of the above speedtest. Note also that this premises hasn't been revealed as having either a single copper or a bonded pair. At those speeds we have to assume a bonded pair, which most Aussie households DON'T have.

    ZDNet understands that McInnes was able to achieve a download speed of 98Mbps down, and upload speeds of 33Mbps over a copper line of 190 metres through Telstra as the retail service provider.


      Your post will be ignored by most on here because it disagrees with their assumed "at the node" test.

        What are you talking about? 190m is very close, and more importantly, there's no mention of even one other person using the network. Care to guess how many of us will be well over 1km away, sharing the node with hundreds of other people?

        Not to mention that this test was done with pristine copper, not the degrading shit Telstra refuses to maintain for those of us not being used for these trials...

        Last edited 22/08/14 4:55 pm

          None. VDSL2, which is what the nodes use wont work further than about 500m.

            ADSL-like long reach performance is one of the key advantages of VDSL2. LR-VDSL2 enabled systems are capable of supporting speeds of around 1–4 Mbit/s (downstream) over distances of 4–5 km (2.5–3 miles), gradually increasing the bit rate up to symmetric 100 Mbit/s as loop-length shortens. This means that VDSL2-based systems, unlike VDSL systems, are not limited to short local loops or MTU/MDUs only, but can also be used for medium range applications.
            from Wikipedia

    I know it's kinda annoying to make this a Labor vs Liberal argument but...

    I just...I can't even...It just hurts so bad how bad this gov is. The pain!

      And yet it's still infinitely better than the previous rabble. Go figure.

    fucking who cares... SO Malcolm... you were standing how far from the exchange when you took that test? 1-2 Feet?

      Read the article douche. Stop making assumptions.

        ahh sorry i forgot you obv love turnbull and FTTN and don't need any hard facts to back up the government bullshit you get fed. he was less than 200M from the node with 0 other people connected. awesome test.

        Last edited 25/08/14 11:17 am

    32 ping? wow wth.... and only 98Mb/s downstream. sure the upstream is impressive at 36Mb/s

    my cable is 5 ping 117Mb/s downstream and 2.4Mb/s upstream

    to me its not really any type of upgrade unless that 36Mb/s upstream will give me a better iRacing ping from 255ping to lower? anyone?

      Yeah, I was going to post the same thing - on a good day I'll get better figures than this except for the upstream on Telstra cable.

      Still, I'd take this over ADSL2 any day. Going to be moving soon and my horror scenario is that I end up somewhere where I can't get broadband at all, since it's a complete shot in the dark and you simply don't know what you can actually get into a given dwelling until you're in there and getting stuff connected.

        I'm the same, Telstra cable last week did a speed test <10ms ping (to telstra server mind you) 113Mb/s down and only 2.4 up....

        FTTN doesn't interest me at all with these stats.... I would love Telstra to allow higher upload speed on cable, but I'm sure I'll survive.

          About the only thing aside from upload where FTTN should outperform cable is that the actual fiber can handle more traffic, so you won't see the same level of drop-off when multiple people in the area are using the service, though you'll still see a bit of it.

          It's still an expensive, outdated, unupgradeable stopgap that is inferior to FTTP in every way and is going to make us into even more of an internet backwater. :( But at least it's better than ADSL I guess.

          i get 113 down and 40 up (yes I pay for speed boost) with sub 3ms ping times.

            Can you post a speedtest that reflects your claimed 40mbs upload on Telstra Cable? The theoretical maximum on that service (even WITH speedboost) is 2.4Mbps, not 40Mbps.

            Last edited 23/08/14 1:07 pm

              Do you mean theoretical maximum due to their plans, or theoretical maximum due to underlying technology? DOCSIS 3 is certainly able to provide greater than 2.4Mbps up.

                I meant the theoretical maximum provided by Telstra on a Cable service. Clearly, he's actually talking about FTTH NBN on Telstra and not Cable.

              Of Course I can
              If you have purchased a Telstra Speed Boost your bill will show
              additional per month charges for your speed upgrade. Telstra Speed
              Boost 1 provides speeds up to 25/5Mbps into the home for an extra
              $5 per month and Telstra Speed Boost 2 (not available over Fixed
              Wireless) provides speeds up to 100/40Mbps into the home for an
              extra $20 per month. These speeds exceed the capabilities of some
              content servers and computers.

              Under the heading "Broadband Speeds*

              Ill post a link to my speed test tonight when I get home.

    I was reading a tech forum that seems to be based in the UK, and they were talking about FTTN(/C). One guy got 70/20Mbps and someone else was getting 6 Down.. He stated he was a mile away, so its really is down to luck. Those that live next to the node, and those that don't.

    My ex was lucky enough to have the FTTH NBN by labour built in her new home ( im almost sure of this and only street in area lol ) so I was starting to think that i really should go test out the FTTH NBN and get some results. She lives a good distance from the exchange too so would be interesting to get exact details. I will try to do it this weekend.

    Last edited 22/08/14 11:07 am

      Distance from the exchange isn't really an issue for fibre. Copper has that issue.

      I am as far from the exchange as possible without being on the next one. So worst possible spot.

      Can't test it. ISP's are throttling speeds (which is anti to the whole point of NBN).

    & meanwhile labs have successfully pushed 30+ TB/sec over a 50km piece of fibre optic cable.

    To put that ping in perspective, I live roughly 2km away from the nearest exchange on ADSL2+. I normally get between 4 to 4.5mbits down and roughly 0.7mbits up. And my ping is STILL lower than that. I just ran a test then and I got a ping of 28ms.

    As other have pointed out, this is just Turnbull reporting the bare minimum to support his idealogical position. No mention of the testing conditions, but I would suspect this was achieved over a very short distance to the node (probably less than 50m) and with absolutely pristine copper. Try and replicate this result 500m+ away from the node with copper that is 20-30 years old, which is what the vast majority of Australians will have to put up with. If you manage to get 93/38mbit on it, THEN you can attempt to tell me how awesome FTTN is.

    Distance to Node?
    New copper or old copper?
    Yay wow it proves it is possible to get a decent speed over FTTN - Well duh! IF YOU MEET all of the requirements to get said speed then great. If not well your screwed.

    Very selective Mr Turnbull.
    As usual a politician pushing there political agenda with little to no useful information.

    Well Done Malcom.
    To break it into simplier terms (required for our pollies) by using cars.
    Basically what you have just shown us is you have a Hyundai Excel with Mags and a Exhaust tip, Yeah we are all really impressed...... "sarcasm"
    We all were getting Ferrari's before you were running the show.
    Wake up!

    As somebody who lives in Umina, about 3 streets away, I call BS. The NBN in the area is a "Trial" Site. New copper lines have been put in, and this guy is within a 1 block radius of the node. The speeds are good compared to the average ADSL+2 in the area, however not everybody will have access to this. I am 3 streets away and am "not eligible" for the NBN as we have a standard copper line in our street.

      what the? are you telling you are on standard copper which is what we are all on mostly I assume, and they had to pull that out and put in SPECIAL copper lines?

      so what is the diff to that than installing fibre? if that is correct then its just so Telstra can still charge for the line rental which they cant for fibre.

      i have cable and they are building the NBN here too... where my ex is there is NO internet all ports are full and they are not building the NBN in the biggest housing development in the country, tuganina/tarneit.

      they have even built a new train line and train station but somehow its too hard to lay some damn fibre so the residents of tarneit/tuganina have basic internet instead of being forced onto mobile broadband where there is 2 towers in the entire area and always congested and slow......don't you love this country

    Stupid Turnbull. You can get those speeds on your phone via LTE. Now that's embarrassing.

      You really can't, at least not in any comparable way.

      Burst speeds *may* approach that, but protocol overhead and cell contention will drag it down to ADSL1 speeds most of the time. Ping times are worse. Availability is worse. Cost per megabyte is *much* worse.

    If everyone got this speed great, but they used short distance pristine copper on a node box with very few people connected, compared to their stated connection load at rollout plus upto 5x the length of used copper.
    I want to see real world usage figures before getting excited.

    From ZDnet:
    "NBN Co is using spare copper pairs for the trial, allowing users to continue to run their existing ADSL connections along side their NBN connections..."
    "ZDNet understands that McInnes was able to achieve a download speed of 98Mbps down, and upload speeds of 33Mbps over a copper line of 190 metres..."

    So, almost literally perfect conditions? Yeah. Not a surprise at all. Is this why it took an extra 3 months to start the trial? Finding "spare" copper and researching the best possible place to start?

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now