Discovering Your NBN Modem and Connection Box

nbn moden and nbn ntd box

Understanding the components that make up your NBN setup is crucial for a smooth internet experience and will save you time and stress.

The NBN connection box, also known as the Network Termination Device (NTD), is an essential part of this setup. It acts as the endpoint of the NBN network in a household or business and is responsible for converting the incoming NBN signal into a compatible format for a home network.

The connection box is typically installed by an NBN Co technician, but in some cases, it may be eligible for self-installation or already installed, considering the roll-out is pretty much complete.

You will need an NBN-compatible modem which will communicate with the connection box, providing internet access to all connected devices.

For most connections, the modem needs to support ADSL2+, VDSL, or VDSL2 standards. Don’t stress! most ISP’s will provide you with an NBN-ready modem. If you are looking for a custom modem, just make sure it’s compatible with NBN.

Let’s get into the different tech types, as you may need multiple devices to ensure connection to the Internet.

Understanding NBN Connection Types

When setting up your nbn connection in Australia, understanding the type of technology used is important for determining potential internet speeds and the installation process.

The NBN utilizes different technologies to deliver high-speed internet access, which includes Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fibre to the Node/Basement (FTTN/B), Fibre to the Curb (FTTC), Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC), and Fixed Wireless (FW).

I’m not going to go into SkyMuster, as I don’t believe it’s worth the time and you’re better off going for Starlink or 5G. Now, let’s discuss the different NBN types.

Overview Of FTTP, FTTN/B, FTTC, HFC, FW

Fibre to the Premises (FTTP):

  • Definition: FTTP is a direct optic fibre connection to one’s home or business, providing high-speed internet.
  • Speed Potential: Capable of delivering the highest speeds available on the NBN. Some area’s get the max capacity of 1gbit/s speeds but most likely 100mbps to 500mbps.

Fibre to the Node/Basement (FTTN/B):

  • Definition: FTTN connects fibre to a street cabinet, then uses existing copper phone lines to individual premises. FTTB is similar but for apartment buildings.
  • Speed Potential: Speeds can be variable and are typically slower than FTTP due to the copper segment. The typical max speed advertised is 100Mbps, however it usually sits between 40Mbps 50Mbps speeds.

Fibre to the Curb (FTTC):

  • Definition: FTTC extends the fibre closer to the home, ending at the curb or footpath, with a shorter copper lead-in to the premises.
  • Speed Potential: Delivers faster speeds than FTTN/B due to the reduced length of copper line. Max speeds are typically 100mbps when downloading, and 40mbps when uploading.

Hybrid Fibre-Coaxial (HFC):

  • Definition: Utilizes both fibre and existing ‘pay TV’ coaxial cable networks to connect users.
  • Speed Potential: Offers high speeds, although typically not as high as FTTP but better than FTTN/B. Max speeds can reach up to 1000mbps.

Fixed Wireless (FW):

  • Definition: Uses radio signals to connect homes in rural and remote areas that are not reached by other NBN technologies.
  • Speed Potential: Speeds are generally lower compared to wired connections, with a cap at specific tiers. The max speed available is 75mbps however, due to these sort of customers being more regional, the speeds are impacted by several factors, with 40mbps more reasonable.

NBN Connection Box:

  • An NBN connection box is provided with FTTC, FTTP, FW, and HFC installations. For HFC, the connection box is also known as the NBN access network device, which is used to connect the in-home coaxial cable to the modem.

So now that you have a better understanding of these technology types, it’s important to find out which type you’re eligible for. You can visit the NBN Address Checker by clicking the hyperlink, type in your address and it will return what technology type you can get.

Once your address is entered, it will return a similar page to this.

nbn sign up

It shows you what technology type you can get in the top right corner along with other providers.

Installation Process

The NBN installation process is pretty straightforward, most people now opt for self-installation, It involves the setup of both a modem and connecting all your devices.

For some, you may need a visit from a technician.

Getting NBN Installed at Home

  • Before Installation:
    • Eligibility: Residents should check their eligibility for an NBN connection at their address. This can be done by visiting the NBN Co’s website.
    • Appointment: Once confirmed, they can arrange an installation appointment with their chosen internet service provider (ISP), if needed.
  • During Installation:
    • Access: A technician will need to access the inside and outside of the home to install the necessary equipment. For renters, permission from the landlord may be required.
    • Equipment: Installation generally involves setting up an NBN connection box and a separate modem provided by the ISP or purchased independently.
  • After Installation:
    • Testing: The technician should test the connection and confirm that everything is working properly.
    • Network Connectivity: The resident will connect their devices to the new network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet to begin using the service.

Note: Non-standard installations may require additional steps, depending on the property and specific NBN technology used.

You may also be charged the nbn new development charge which is a $300 fee imposed by nbn on residents to help cover the costs of rolling out the NBN.

This charge applies to locations that nbn classifies as new development.

Your ISP must disclose this to you, prior to submitting your order. Sometimes, the landlord may cover the cost, however they have no requirements to do so.

Lastly, most premises are now already on NBN, so you won’t require the above and can proceed with the self-install option.

Getting Your NBN Connection

Setting up your NBN connection is a straightforward process, but it involves several steps to ensure a smooth transition to high-speed internet.

Placing An Order

You must first check the availability of the NBN service in their area. If NBN is available, they can proceed to order a service through a preferred phone or internet provider.

The process involves choosing a plan that suits one’s needs and speaking with the provider about the specifics of equipment and installation.

Do You Need a Modem for NBN?

A modem is essential for connecting home devices to the NBN network. However, it’s important to clarify that not all existing modems are compatible.

As mentioned, you can get the NBN-compatible modem from your service providers, they are typically set up already and just require you to plug it in.

Where to Buy NBN Connection Equipment

The NBN connection equipment, including the connection box, is usually provided by NBN Co at no additional cost upon establishing the NBN service.

Should additional equipment be necessary, it’s recommended to purchase NBN connection equipment from authorized retailers or directly through the internet service provider to ensure compatibility and support.

Here is a list of websites selling NBN equipment, as always, do your due diligence before purchasing an item.

If you do require further help with NBN, contact your ISP as they have access to NBN Co Portal and can book appointments.

They also have specialized teams who can arrange support for NBN equipment.

Setting Up Your NBN Equipment

Setting up your NBN equipment correctly will stop you from having a mental breakdown and snapping at phone support… kidding!

This section will guide you through the process of installing your NBN modem and connecting your router.

nbn box lights

How to Set Up Your NBN Modem

  1. Locate your NBN Connection Box: This is also referred to as the Network Termination Device (NTD). It should be installed by an NBN technician at a point where the NBN access network enters your premises.
  2. Connect the Power Cable: Plug one end of the power cable into the NBN Connection Box and the other into a power outlet. Turn it on and wait for the power light to become stable.
  3. Attach the provided telephone cable: Take the telephone cable that came with the device and plug one end into the ‘UNI-D’ port on the NBN Connection Box.
  4. Power on the Modem: Connect the other end of the telephone cable to the WAN port on your NBN modem. Attach the power cable to the modem and plug it into another power outlet.
  5. Check Indicator Lights: Once powered on, wait for the indicator lights to show that the modem has established a connection to the NBN network, which can take a few minutes.

Connecting Your Router to the NBN

  • Connect to the Modem: Use an Ethernet cable to connect the WAN port of your router to any available LAN port of the NBN modem.
  • Power Cycle Your Equipment: It’s good practice to power off the modem and router, wait for a minute, and then turn them back on. This enables the devices to establish a fresh connection.
  • Configure Your Router: Access the router’s admin panel, usually by navigating to a web address indicated in your router’s manual, to set up Wi-Fi networks, passwords, and other settings. This is provided in the modem box.

By following these steps, you should be able to establish a secure and high-speed internet connection through their NBN equipment.

Detailed instructions about how to connect the router to the NBN box can be found in the box or via your service providers website.

NBN Modems and Routers

In this section, we will discuss choosing the right nbn modem and routers, otherwise you won’t be able to access nbn or will continue to come across problems.

Choosing the Right NBN Modem

Your Internet Service Providers will provide you with a default modem they supply, however considering a third-party purchase can sometimes offer improved features and better performance.

Detailed reviews about the best NBN modems and routers can guide your buying decision, ensuring you opt for a modem that balances cost with functionality.

  • Key features to consider:
    • Compatibility: Ensure the modem supports your NBN connection type.
    • Performance: Look for Wi-Fi 6 technology for faster speeds and better coverage.
    • Ports: Check the number of Ethernet ports to accommodate wired connections.

Can You Use Any Modem?

You may asking yourself “should I buy my own nbn modem” and the answer is typically, no. Most ISP provide a decent quality modem with good features such as the Telstra Smart Modem.

That said, if you have a big house or lots of users, you should consider buying a new modem or adding hardware from your ISP, such as WI-FI boosters.

Not every modem can connect to the NBN. You must verify that the existing modem is NBN-compatible. This often means ensuring the device can handle the specific technology type provided in their service.

Some modems that have worked with traditional ADSL connections may not be suitable for NBN.

Additionally, modems provided by NBN Co for FTTP, FTTC, and HFC installations are designed to work with those technologies specifically, and attempting to use them with a different NBN connection type might result in a non-functional setup.

For those considering buying their own modem, it’s recommended to confirm with their Internet Service Provider if the chosen model is compatible and optimized for use on the NBN, however it’s not typically warranted.

Here is a list of eligible NBN modems.

Please note that the compatibility of a modem also depends on the type of NBN connection you have, such as FTTN, FTTP, HFC, etc.

It’s always best to check with the modem manufacturer or your NBN service provider to ensure compatibility with your specific NBN connection type.

The NBN Connection Box

The NBN Connection Box acts as a bridge between your home network and the wider NBN service, serving as a critical component in the setup for accessing high-speed internet.

For 90% of us, we don’t even need to mess about with the NBN box.

Identifying Your NBN Box

NBN Box Lights
Source: NBNCo

To identify your NBN Connection Box, look for a white or grey box that is installed inside your premises. It is distinct from the utility box outside, which connects to the service provider’s network.

The indoor NBN Connection Box will typically have several LED indicators on the front to show its operational status. Common lights include ‘Power’, ‘Connection’, ‘Signal’, and sometimes ‘LAN’ indicators.

Understanding what these lights mean is important: a solid or flashing ‘Power’ light indicates that the box is turned on, while the ‘Connection’ light shows that it is connected to the broader NBN network.

Connecting to the NBN Box

Connecting to the NBN Connection Box involves a few simple steps:

  1. Physical Setup: The box itself should be situated in a ventilated, dry area to prevent overheating or damage. Avoid covering it with anything that could block the vents.
  2. Power Connection: Plug the NBN Connection Box into the power outlet and switch it on. A green power light should be visible once it’s operational.
  3. Connecting Your Modem: Use an Ethernet cable to connect the NBN Connection Box to your modem. This step is essential to provide internet access to your devices.
  4. Configuration: Some NBN boxes act as a modem as well, while others need to be connected to a separate modem. If the latter is the case, ensure that your modem is compatible and properly configured to work with the NBN service.
  5. Monitoring Lights: Keep an eye on the lights. If all lights are stable (particularly the ‘Connection’ light), the NBN Connection Box is functioning correctly. If there are any issues, the lights will inform you—flashing or red lights may indicate a problem requiring troubleshooting.

It’s not uncommon to have questions about where your NBN Connection Box is located, especially when moving into a new home or installing NBN for the first time.

Typically, it should be easily accessible, possibly near other utility connections like telephone or power outlets.

If unsure, check with your property manager or ISP for the precise location, however they are pretty easy to find.

Note: You won’t have an NBN box for tech types such as FTTN.

Box Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your NBN connection box, including understanding the NBN battery and managing any noises, will be important if you ever have to troubleshoot issues.

NBN Battery Information

The NBN connection box may come with a backup battery unit that keeps the service functioning in the case of a power outage. 

Replacing the NBN battery is the customer’s responsibility and should be done when the battery alarm indicates. To change the NBN battery, first ensure that the power is off.

Carefully open the battery compartment, disconnect the old battery, and insert the new one, ensuring all connections are secure.

I have attached a guide for more details on this. You can also purchase NBN batteries from retailers such as Battery World.

Troubleshooting Equipment

If you’re having issues with your NBN hardware, effective troubleshooting will typically fix the issue.

This section outlines step-by-step methods for common equipment problems, such as resetting devices and silencing alarms.

Resetting Your Devices

Resetting NBN equipment can resolve many connectivity issues. For the NBN modem, a hardware reset involves:

  1. Locating the reset button (usually found on the back of the modem).
  2. Pressing and holding the button for 10 seconds using a pointed object like a paperclip.
  3. Waiting for the modem to reboot which may take a few minutes.

To reset the NBN connection box:

  1. Disconnect the power cable.
  2. Wait at least 2 minutes.
  3. Reconnect the power cable and observe the status lights for normal operation.

If problems persist after a reset, further investigation into the modem’s compatibility or the status of the NBN connection might be required.

Compatibility details can be found in the hardware manual or by contacting your internet provider, as mentioned in the NBN Troubleshooting Guide.

Diagnosing NBN Speed Problems

If you’re having speed problems, you need to find out why. Here are some tips to do so:

  • Check the plan: Ensure the subscribed NBN plan meets the household’s speed requirements.
  • Power cycle the modem/router: Unplug these devices for 30 seconds then plug them back in. This simple reset can resolve many speed issues. For comprehensive steps, you can refer to Common NBN Connection Issues and How to Fix Them.

Advanced NBN Configuration

If you’re a bit of a geek or just want to unlock the full potential of your nbn, more advanced configuration may be for you.

Configuring NBN Modem Settings

To configure NBN modem settings, you must first connect to the modem’s gateway. This is typically done by entering the device’s IP address into a web browser.

Once access is granted, you will be prompted to enter the modem configuration details. These settings may vary depending on the modem and the type of NBN technology in use, such as FTTC, HFC, FTTP, Fixed Wireless, or FTTN/B.

  • Log-In Credentials: Normally, the modem will require a username and password, which are often provided by the manufacturer or your internet service provider (ISP).
  • Network Settings: This involves customizing the Wi-Fi network name (SSID), setting up a strong Wi-Fi password, and selecting the appropriate channel and frequency band (2.4GHz or 5GHz) for your environment.
  • Security Protocols: Under security settings, using the latest encryption standards, such as WPA3 or WPA2, is crucial.
  • Internet Settings: These include the configuration of the WAN interface, which might require details such as the VLAN ID for NBN connections or PPPoE credentials if applicable.
  • Quality of Service (QoS): Adjust QoS settings to prioritize traffic for different applications or devices, helping ensure stable performance for critical tasks.

NBN Box Lights

Your NBN connection box has several lights that tell you important information about your internet connection. The “Power” light should always be solid blue for optimal functionality. A solid blue “Connection” light means you’re connected to the NBN network.

Other lights, like your “Optical” or “WAN” lights, can indicate connection status or potential problems. If you see any red lights or experience internet issues, it’s best to consult your provider’s support page or contact them directly for help.

Contacting NBN Support

When you’re facing issues with your NBN service, finding the right people to contact will help solve things quicker.

This section guides through the preferred channel where one can seek assistance for their NBN connection issues.

Contacting Your ISP

Primary Point of Contact: Customers are to first contact their Internet Service Provider (ISP) for support related to the NBN modem or connection box.

The ISP is responsible for managing customer relationships, handling complaints, and resolving technical issues.

Since NBN Co provides wholesale services to ISPs, it is the role of the ISP to interface between customers and NBN Co.

  • Troubleshooting Steps: They often provide troubleshooting steps that might include restarting your equipment or checking the network status.
  • Escalation: If those steps do not resolve the issue, the ISP can escalate the problem to NBN Co on the customer’s behalf.
  • Technical Assistance: In cases where an NBN technician is required, the ISP will coordinate the appointment.

For further support information, or to understand the specific process relating to contacting support for NBN-related issues, customers can refer to their ISP’s support resources or the NBN website.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still here? well now let’s dive into some of the most asked questions relating to NBN.

Understanding the components that make up your NBN setup is crucial for a smooth internet experience and will save you time and stress.

support for NBN-related issues, customers can refer to their ISP’s support resources or the NBN website.

You will receive an NBN connection box as part of the standard installation process when you sign up with an internet service provider that offers NBN plans. Alternatively, you can purchase your own online.

The NBN connection box, often installed indoors, typically has compact dimensions allowing it to fit conveniently next to other networking equipment. Exact sizes may vary based on the model provided, so you should refer to your supplier’s specifications. Typically, it’s around the size of a shoe box.

To connect a router to the NBN connection box, you should use an Ethernet cable, plugging one end into the designated port on the connection box and the other into there router. The instructions will be inside of your modem box.

If the NBN connection box is lost or missing, you should contact your internet service provider as they may need to arrange for a replacement box or a technician visit to assess the situation and provide the necessary equipment.


In the case of a faulty NBN connection box, you should reach out to their service provider who will facilitate the replacement process. Providers may send a new box or schedule a technician to visit and replace the unit. Replacing the whole connection box is also dangerous, so please be aware.


The NBN utility box, typically located outside the home, connects the premises to the NBN infrastructure in the street. While the NBN connection box, found inside, is where the home network is connected to the NBN, allowing devices within the home to access the internet. Inside vs Outside is the easier way to remember this.


This is a frequent one from our readers, typically NBN will not contact you, as always, don’t give personal or financial information over the phone.


If you are getting harassing calls from people claiming to be NBN, simply block the number. NBN do not randomly contact consumers, speak to your ISP and they can Investigate further.


For problems relating to your NBN service, contact your service provider. If you need to contact NBN direct for external problems, you can visit there website.

If your address does not appear on NBN, contact a service provider and they can raise a service request for you, Telstra is our preferred choice. Head into a Telstra store, confirm your address is not showing and they will place a service request to establish your connection.

This can take between 5-20 business days and you may need to provide the service provider additional details such as NTD details and lot numbers.

Author

  • David Everson

    Telecommunications & Technology enthusiast, I have worked multiple years in the telco and tech space, so have a strong passion towards delivering terrific insights.

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