Is My Router FttN/FttB Compatible?

May 20, 2022 3:37 pm

Is My Router Compatible with Fibre-to-the-Node/Building?

How to Check If a Router Is Also an nbn™ Compatible Modem

Unlike other types of nbn™ internet connections, nbn FttN and FttB (Fibre-to-the-Node and Fibre-to-the-Building) services don’t use an nbn supplied NTD (Network Termination Device).

Instead, they also require the customer’s router to authenticate the internet connection, a function performed by an in-built VDSL2/VDSL2+ modem.

Activ8me provides all types of nbn regional internet connections, including fibre.
If you’re moving house or connecting to nbn, you’ve checked your new address and it’s either a Fibre-to-the-Node or Fibre-to-the-Building service, then you’ll need to make sure your router has a compatible VDSL2 modem in-built to connect to, and use an nbn service at your new address.

What’s the Easiest Way to Check?

The easiest way to check is by inspecting the ports on your router.

(That is, by looking at the holes in the router box where you’d plug the cables into it).
Look for a standard telephone port.

These are smaller than the holes for ethernet cables, which every router will have.

If your router doesn’t have a telephone sized port, it is not compatible with Fibre-to-the-Node/Building.

Look for a port the size of a standard telephone cable.  It will be smaller than the other ports on the router, designed for larger, ethernet cables.
Look for a port the size of a standard telephone cable. It will be smaller than the other ports on the router, designed for larger, ethernet cables.

If it does (like the image above), there’s an excellent chance it is compatible.

It should be labelled ‘DSL‘, ‘VDSL‘, ‘Line‘, ‘Modem‘ or something similar.
If your router has a telephone port with this label, it has an inbuilt modem. It still must be a modem that is compatible with the nbn access network.
The inbuilt modem must be a VDSL2 or VDSL2+ modem, not an older ADSL modem.

I’ve Still Have a Modem/Router from My ADSL Connection, Will It Work?

If this is the first time you’re connecting to nbn and your modem/router is from a previous ADSL connection, chances are it won’t work.
However, some modem/routers are ADSL and VDSL compatible, so it could be worth checking before spending money on new hardware.
If you look at the modem/router’s label, it should tell you whether your router is compatible with ADSL, VDSL or both.

This router’s label indicates it is compatible with both VDSL (for nbn FttN/B) and older ADSL internet connections.
This router’s label indicates it is compatible with both VDSL (for nbn FttN/B) and older ADSL internet connections.

If you know the model and manufacturer of your router, you can see if it’s in Whirlpool’s list of nbn FttN compatible modem routers here. This list is not exhaustive or 100% up-to-date.
If you purchased or were given the router for free from another Internet Service Provider (ISP), you also need to ensure the device is not ‘locked’ to that ISP.
Activ8me doesn’t lock the routers we sell, and our Support team can assist you in determining if an old router you have is unlocked and compatible with one of our nbn FttN/B services.

Will Older Model Modem/Routers Work?

Generally, yes however something else to consider with older modem/router models is that from 31 March 2022, nbn will also implement two new functions to their FttN/B services to improve their stability.
Save Our Showtime (SOS) and Robust Overhead Channel (ROC) are the two functions that will be implemented.

SOS and ROC are updates designed to prevent dropouts due to ‘line noise’, ensuring more consistent service.
If your VDSL modem doesn’t support SOS and ROC, as well as another function/service called Seamless Rate Adaptation (SRA), it may no longer be compatible with the nbn access network from the end of March.
VDSL modems that use an Intel or Lantiq chipset may no longer work or may require a firmware update to work. You can look at the technical information on your router manufacturer’s website to see what type of chipset the model uses.
Our Support team on 13 22 88 are the best people to contact to confirm whether your old modem/router has these features and is compatible with the service.

What If I’m Buying A New Modem/Router?

Make sure the device you buy has a VDSL2 or VDSL2+ modem in it.
A good tip is to look for a modem/router that is ‘Fibre-to-the-Node compatible‘.

(If it’s FttN compatible, it will work for FttB connections as well.)
You can search online for possible options or visit a local hardware/IT store where you can ask for assistance.

If you wish to compare hardware options, there’s a good comparison of nbn compatible routers available on here.
While we cannot guarantee a third-party modem/router will be compatible, our Customer Care team can assist you with choosing a compatible model.

In most instances, our team will be able to let you know whether a specific model you plan on purchasing will be compatible or not.
We can also assist you in configuring your modem/router to use with your Activ8me service, if required.

Call us on 13 22 88 or for a quick question without picking up the phone, send our Customer Care team a Message on Facebook here.

Purchase A New Router Pre-Configured for Your Service

You can also purchase a replacement modem/router through Activ8me, which we will deliver to you.
Modem/Routers purchased from us are fully configured before delivery to function with your specific service settings, straight out of the box.
Activ8me offers two compatible modem/routers for FttN/B connections:

NetComm Wireless NF10WV $110 + $15 postage

TP-Link Archer VR1600v $150 + $15 postage
We also offer these modem/routers at discounted prices if you sign up for a six-month contract.

If you’re already an Activ8me customer, you can purchase one of these modem/routers through the Member’s Area of our website.
Activ8me configures and ships our routers from our warehouse in Melbourne, and you’ll receive your router set up with any necessary configuration completed, allowing you to plug-and-play the hardware with the assurance of it working straight out of the box.

What’s The Technical Reason Behind Needing a Modem?

The technology used to connect FttN households to the nbn access network includes the copper phone line running from the premises, which is connected to a ‘node’ in the street nearby.

This router’s label indicates it is compatible with both VDSL (for nbn FttN/B) and older ADSL internet connections.
A Node in the street, used to connect the copper wiring running from nearby homes, to the fibre-optic cabling of the nbn network.

The node is where the copper cable connects to the fibre-optic cabling of the nbn access network…
hence the name, ‘Fibre-to-the-Node.’
To connect to the internet, your router also needs to authenticate the connection and subscribe to the internet service.
A VDSL modem performs these functions.
It’s worth mentioning you don’t need the phone line to be active.

Quite the opposite: When a phone line is used for an nbn internet connection, any active PSTN (traditional copper phone) service will be cut-off and can’t stay active in parallel with an nbn internet service.

It’s the physical copper cable itself that an nbn approved installer will ‘jumper’ to the fibre-optic cables of the nbn access network the first time a premises is connected to nbn.
This is done inside the ‘node’ box for FttN or alternatively inside the ‘communications room’ in buildings that offer FttB.
For more information on FttN and FttB connections, you can read more details on the technology involved on the nbn website here for FttB and here for FttN.

What Are The Other Ports On My Router?

The ethernet ports on a router, the size of standard ethernet cables (known as RJ45), have two different uses.
One (and only one) ethernet port will be different from the others

It is commonly labelled ‘WAN‘ or something similar, and maybe a different colour to stand out from the other ‘LAN‘ ports (as seen on the router below).

This router’s label indicates it is compatible with both VDSL (for nbn FttN/B) and older ADSL internet connections.
This router has a ‘WAN’ port (the blue one) to receive an internet connection and 4 ‘LAN’ ports (the yellow ones) to distribute the network connection through ethernet cables. This router does not have a modem inbuilt and is not compatible with FttN or FttB.

The WAN port’s function is to receive an incoming, authenticated internet connection from a modem or nbn NTD.

In all other nbn connections other than FttN and FttB, the ‘WAN‘ port is where you would connect an ethernet cable coming from your nbn NTD.

FttN/B services do not require any cables connected to the ‘WAN’ port.

The other ethernet ports (most routers have four of these other ethernet ports) are commonly labelled ‘LAN‘ or something similar.

LAN‘ stands for Local Area Network. (Meaning, your local, private home network).
Each LAN port’s function is to distribute your local network connection to devices via ethernet cables.

Standard devices to connect using ethernet cables are printers, PCs, gaming consoles, or older devices that don’t have a WiFi receiver.
These LAN ethernet ports are great for troubleshooting any service issues as well.

Suppose you ever feel your internet isn’t working correctly. In that case, you can test whether the issue is with your wireless network or the internet service itself by connecting to the internet via an ethernet cable.

By removing the ‘wireless’ aspect of the connection, you can determine if the issue is with the WiFi or the internet service itself.

If your service improves when using a wired connection instead of a wireless one, it suggests an issue with your WiFi, either the wireless network or your WiFi-enabled device.

If it doesn’t improve, the issues are with your service, router, NTD or something else… but not the wireless network.
Additional standard telephone ports are usually for telephone handsets to connect to an internet telephone service.
If you’re still unsure or need further assistance, contact our Customer Care team on 13 22 88 or for a quick question without picking up the phone, send our Customer Care team a Message on Facebook here.

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