NBN for Business: Key Facts and Terms Explained

Network Performance

NBN for Business: Key Facts and Terms Explained

Like many Australian businesses, you’re probably wondering whether you should connect to the NBN.

After all, from its inception the network has been billed as giving Australian businesses, especially SMEs, ready access to high-speed fibre and therefore previously undreamt levels of fast, reliable, and ubiquitous service.

But like most technology decisions, the answer to that question depends. For many organisations it’s not a question of yes or no; rather how.

There’s no one size fits all NBN. And many organisations will choose to have it as part of a broader mix of technologies that might include various other fixed and wireless options.

To clarify the process, we have set out the key terms, definitions, and facts you should know before going to market and making a decision.

NBN's traffic classes

NBN provides businesses with different traffic class options.

The first thing to understand is that NBN business users can choose from three different performance tiers or, as NBN calls them, “Traffic Classes”: TC1, TC2, and TC4.

These traffic classes are available on various last mile access technologies like FTTP, FTTN, FTTC, HFC, and fixed wireless. A thing to note is that not all traffic classes are available on all last mile access technologies. Additionally, NBN offers Enterprise Ethernet which runs on dedicated infrastructure separate from the last mile infrastructure used to serve FTTP/N/C, HFC, and fixed wireless customers.

What is 'Traffic Class 4' (TC4)?

Going in reverse order, TC4 is a standard traffic class typically used to deliver broadband services to small business and residential users. It's often referred to as a ‘best effort’ internet service.  

TC4 speeds range from 25 Mbps down / 5 Mbps up, to 100 Mbps down / 40 Mbps up.

If ‘good enough’, as opposed to ‘mission-critical’, is what you need, TC4 could be the right choice. But for most larger businesses, it’s not enough performance and too much risk.

What is 'Traffic Class 2' (TC2)?

Next there’s TC2.

TC2 is a business-grade traffic class used for delivering fast and consistent symmetrical internet or layer 3 WAN services. It’s intended for organisations that need reliable internet and WAN services for voice, video, terminal services, and other so-called delay-sensitive applications.

With TC2, users can expect symmetrical speeds of 5-20 Mbps.

What is 'Traffic Class 1' (TC1)?

And then there’s TC1.

Traffic Class 1 is a NBN wholesale traffic class designed expressly for voice traffic. TC1 is perfect for delivering low-bandwidth, highly delay-sensitive applications such as bidirectional high-definition audio. The bandwidth increments correspond to the number of phone lines a premises requires.

TC1 speeds range from 150 kbps to 5 Mbps

What is Enterprise Ethernet?

And finally, at the top, we have Enterprise Ethernet, which is a Layer 2 wholesale product designed for enterprise customers needing significant bandwidth, and high network reliability.

Defined as being fibre-only, Enterprise Ethernet offers MEF (Metro Ethernet Forum) Carrier Ethernet 2.0 compliant symmetrical access. Each Enterprise Ethernet Service from NBN consists of an Operator Virtual Circuit (OVC) and a User Network Interface-Ethernet (UNI-E).

Enterprise Ethernet has an option for a 1:1 contention ratio and high level guarantees on service availability.

Speeds range from 10 Mbps right up to 1 Gbps for Enterprise Ethernet.

NBN has certainly generated its share of criticism and controversy since being first announced in 2007. But for most Australian organisations the NBN represents an opportunity to quickly supercharge their communications for more connected, efficient and therefore more successful business operations.

Superloop is one of Australia’s most progressive network service providers. Connect with us today to help your organisation discover new possibilities for better communications and business success.

What to read next:

5 reasons why you want Ethernet for carrier-grade connectivity
Are you feeling the bandwidth strain? A Fixed Wireless network could be the answer
If data is the new oil, then connectivity is the new ‘critical’ supply chain