Why Is My NBN So Slow?

Why Is My NBN So Slow?

Slow internet speeds are frustrating, to say the least. The effects hit harder when you're paying for a promise of a faster internet connection. Captain Cook Electrical understands how frustrating it can be, and we're here to help.

Over the past year, National Broadband Network (NBN) has stepped up the quality of services. However, slow connections are still a pain for most Australians. Sometimes the issue is not on the provider's end, so there are ways to improve your internet speed.

Let's discuss the possible reasons why your NBN is slow and how to rectify the problem.

Potential Reasons Why Your NBN is Slow
  • Network Congestion
NBN traffic works the same way as regular traffic. During evening peak hours, NBN connections often slow down. These are the times when more people are streaming online, surfing, or downloading files.

Bandwidth refers to the network's capacity, determining the number of connections it can support. More bandwidth means there's space for more people, but it comes at a higher cost for the provider.

Less bandwidth is more affordable for the provider, but it affects everyone's network performance.
  • Hardware Issues
Sometimes the network is the root cause of your slow internet speed. However, NBN advises that your modem is likely the biggest contributing factor.

Most speed issues in modems occur due to the following:

- Placement and positioning of the modem
- Channel interference
- Modems with out-of-date firmware
  • Distance From the Node
Most home connections from NBN to the Node (FTTN) technology use fiber. The distance between the node and your house significantly affects your service's performance and speed.

The NBN signal travels from the node to your house through old copper wires. When the signal covers a longer distance over the copper wire, the speed tends to degrade on the way.
  • Plan Speed
Your NBN speed may be slow because of your current plan. The four-speed tiers available for NBN connections range between 12Mbps and 100Mbps.

If you're paying for a cheap plan, your connection likely is 12Mbps. The issue is that a 12Mbps connection has the same speed as an old ADSL2+ connection.
  • Connection Issues
Networks are complex and have numerous weak points where minor problems cause big issues. The size of NBN's network increases the possibility of such matters. The issues can occur within your home, on the broader network, or both in some cases.

Most NBN connection issues stem from faulty equipment, network delays and sometimes the staff.

Ways to Fix a Slow NBN Speed
  • Run a Speed Test to Help Troubleshoot the Issue
When you have a slow NBN connection, the first step is identifying the root cause of the issue. You’ll need to run two tests and compare the results.

For the first test, the connection should be directly from the router or modem through an ethernet cable. The second speed test should be from a wireless connection.

If the wireless connection's speed is slow, the issue could be within the setup.
  • Update or Upgrade Your Modem
The cause of your slow internet connection may be your device. Some outdated devices cannot process today's WiFi speeds.

It would help if you considered getting a newer modem model or a software upgrade to boost your internet speed.
  • Try Mobile Broadband or Home Wireless Broadband.
If your NBN connection is extremely slow, it might be time to go wireless. Mobile broadband uses the same network as your smartphone.

Home broadband plans use more powerful modems that need main power but offer more data. Mobile broadband plans use portable battery-powered modems but offer fewer data.
  • Sign Up for a Faster Speed Tier
If your current NBN plan is the problem, you can quickly fix the issue by signing up for a better plan. If you need more clarification on your plan's speed, you can confirm by checking your bill.
  • Change NBN Provider
The degree or extent to which your NBN connection slows down during peak hours depends on your provider.

If unsatisfied with your provider, you can try a different one and compare the speeds. It's best to begin with a no-contract NBN plan since it allows you to move if unsatisfied.


Various reasons can cause a slow NBN connection. The issue could be your hardware, distance from the nearest node, or speed tier.

Sometimes the issue is not straightforward, so it's best to seek professional help. Having internet speed issues? Ask an NBN technician for advice.