Like many Australian businesses you’re probably wondering whether you should be connecting 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.

In this the first of our two-part series on ‘NBN for Business’ we set out the key terms, definitions and facts you should know before going to market and making a decision. In part 2 we’ll take a closer look at how the different NBN options make sense for different business scenarios and how to make the right decision for your specific needs.  

Different Traffic Classes
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 also 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.

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

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.

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. Users can expect symmetrical speeds of 5-20 Mbps. Next there’sTraffic Class 1 or TC1.

Traffic Class 1 is a NBN wholesale traffic class that is designed expressly for voice traffic, 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

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 it represents an opportunity to quickly supercharge their communications for more connected, efficient and therefore more successful business operations.

Superloop is one of Australia’s newest and most progressive network service providers. Connect with us today to help deepen your understanding of the NBN and how it can help introduce your organisation to new possibilities for better communications and business success.