Tips to optimise your home internet set-up

These tips will help you make informed decisions about your connection, so you can have the best possible internet set-up in your home

Upgrade your modem

Selecting a modem based on your specific needs can help improve your online experience. 

Before you purchase a new modem, remember these important points:Connect fixed devices, like your television or desktop computer, directly to your modem with an Ethernet cable.Older modems previously used on ADSL may not be compatible with the nbn™ broadband access network.Modems made before 2009 may not support higher speeds. Ask your retailer for a 5GHz modem with either 802.11n or 802.11ac standards.Generally the more antennas your modem has, the better. Keep in mind that some antennas can be internal, so it’s good to check with your retailer before purchase.All nbn™ Fibre to the Node (FTTN) and Fibre to the Building (FTTB) connections require VDSL2 modems.For all nbn™ Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC), Fixed Wireless or Sky Muster™ satellite connections, your modem should be capable of supporting a Gigabit Wide Area Network (WAN).If you have a telephone service that is connected to your modem, you should check with your service provider whether changing modems will cause an interruption in phone service and what support is available to you. 

Check for objects that can interfere with your Wi-Fi signal

The objects around your modem can absorb and reflect Wi-Fi signals and this varies greatly depending on the type of material.

Try to avoid placing your modem behind:

  • Solid walls made from brick or cement.
  • Televisions, fridges, microwaves, cordless phones and large electrical household appliances.
  • Metal panels, mirrors, cupboards, shelves and water.

If you are experiencing areas of poor Wi-Fi coverage, resulting in dropouts or slower speeds, then you may need a Wi-Fi extender or mesh device to boost your Wi-Fi signal.

Connect to the right Wi-Fi band

There are typically two Wi-Fi bands on most modems, each with their own pros and cons.

You may notice these when you are connecting your device to the internet via Wi-Fi. Typically the two bands are seen as two different network names such as ‘my network’ and ‘my network_5G’. The ‘5G’ name refers to the 5GHz network band. When you next connect your device to the internet, select the band that best suits your needs.

The main difference between the two Wi-Fi bands are: 

2.4 GHz

The most common Wi-Fi frequency of 2.4GHz generally offers more range and coverage but at a lower speed. 2.4GHz signals are better at penetrating thick walls and objects. Most modems and Wi-Fi enabled devices operate on the 2.4GHz spectrum due to the durability of the 2.4GHz range. There are typically more devices, networks and other radio signals operating at 2.4GHz which can also cause interference and impact your experience.

5 GHz

The 5GHz band generally provides higher speeds than 2.4GHz but has less range and coverage. The 5GHz band is less prone to interference.

You can also speak to your provider who may be able to help you select which Wi-Fi channel to use.

Move your modem away from brick or complex walls

Complex walls can impact the quality of your signal, and are typically walls containing water pipes, air-conditioning ducts and insulation.

Consider the following advice:The closer you are to your modem, the better your signal is likely to be.If possible, position your modem in a raised and central area (never on the floor).Aim to have line-of-sight with your modem.Besides following this general advice for modem positioning, you can also invest in a Wi-Fi repeater or extender to help amplify your signal and extend your coverage. If you’re still having issues, using a fixed connection like an Ethernet cable may help.

Assess the number of multiple connected devices

Busy homes with many devices need better Wi-Fi.

If you have multiple devices connected at the same time, it can impact the speeds you may be able to achieve. That’s why busy homes with a number of devices will need stronger Wi-Fi abilities. Basic modems will start to experience connectivity issues when more than eight devices are connected at once. You can speak to your service provider or IT professional about whether your current modem meets your specific needs.

Use an Ethernet cable to connect your high-definition television

Internet-enabled high-definition televisions need fast internet and consistent signal strength to facilitate 4K content. 

An Ethernet cable connection or a 5GHz Wi-Fi signal (with line-of-sight to the television) is highly recommended if you’re looking to achieve the best possible performance from your television. You can also consider using an Ethernet cable to connect to other fixed devices in your home, such as desktop computers and gaming consoles.  

Check your cabling

The quality of the cabling inside your home can contribute to the speeds you experience. 

Old cables in particular can lead to slower speeds, so if your speeds are limited, it’s worth having the quality of the cabling and wiring assessed by a registered cabler.

Consider upgrading older devices

Ensuring your equipment is up-to-date can help improve your experience.

Consider upgrading devices, such as printers, that were made before 2009 and may struggle to reach higher speeds. If upgrading isn’t an option, turn the device off while not in use.Ensure all your computers, tablets and smart phones have a Wi-Fi receiver.Ensure your devices are compatible with 802.11n or 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards.

Ensure your device is compatible

The rollout of the nbn™ access network involves new technologies, which some existing devices may not be compatible with.

It’s important to speak to your provider to find out if your devices will work on the nbn™ access network, or what alternatives may be available. It’s also important to register safety-critical equipment with nbn by calling 1800 227 300 or visiting

Devices that may no longer be compatible:
  • Medical alarms, autodiallers or emergency call buttons. If you have a medical alarm connected to your modem, check with your alarm provider before moving your equipment.
  • Monitored fire alarms
  • Security monitoring systems
  • Fax and teletypewriter devices
  • Lift emergency phones.
  • Existing landline phone services that are impacted (the copper network within nbn™ Fixed Wireless and Sky Muster™ satellite areas will not be switched off).^

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