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Digital terms and definitions

Below is a listing of the most common terms used and their abbreviations when referring to digital technology. 

Term Abbreviation Definition
Upstream traffic   Refers to data that is sent from a computer or network including all outgoing data such as e-mail or uploading a file
Downstram traffic   Refers to data that is received by a computer or network including recieveing e-mail, downloading files or viewing website content such as videos
Kilobits per second Kbps A unit of measurement of transmission speed. One Kilobit Per Second is equal to 1,024 bits per second.
Megabits Per Second Mbps 1 Mbps = 1,000 kbps. X Mbps / Y Mbps means a maximum downstream of X Mbps and a maximum upstream speed of Y Mbps
Gigabits per second Gbps 1 Gbps = 1000 Mbps. nbn based plans will provide tiered levels ranging from 12Mbps to 100Mbps
Internet Service Provider ISP A telecommunications company such as Telstra, Optus, Vodafone etc. who provide access to the internet for a fee.
Bandwidth   The amount of data that can be carried from one point to another in a given time period
Dial-up   Uses existing copper telephone lines to establish a low bit-rate connection to an ISP. Typical modems have maximum transfer speeds of 56 kbps. Requires home phone line rental.
Digital Subscriber Line DSL A technology for bringing high-speed internet bandwidth access to homes and small businesses over ordinary copper telephone lines. Requires home phone line rental. This technology offers speed from 128Kbps to 3 Mbps
Symmetrical digital subscriber line SDSL Provides equal bandwidth for both upstream and downstream data ~1.5 Mbps
Naked DSL   An internet service that isn't tied to a landline phone service, meaning you're free from paying monthly phone line rental. It still connects using the copper phone line, but instead of a traditional landline phone, Naked DSL includes a Netphone (VoIP) service.
Asymmetric digital subscriber line ADSL ADSL is a type of DSL broadband communications technology used for connecting to the internet. ADSL allows more data to be sent over existing copper telephone lines compared to traditional modem lines.ADSL services can be impacted by how far a home or business is away from a telephone exchange or the quality of the copper used for the telephone lines. Data speeds are up to 5 Mbps / 1 Mbps
  ADSL2+ An extension to ADSL broadband technology that provides subscribers with significantly faster download speeds when compared to traditional ADSL connections. ~20 Mbps / 1 Mbps
  VDSL Very-High-Bit-Rate Digital Subscriber Line.
Cable broadband   Uses a coaxial cable to connect you to the internet installed at the premises. Data speeds can be affected by congestion (number of people on the cable at one time) but can generally reach data speeds of up to 30-100 Mbps / 2 Mbps depending on geographical location and provider
Mobile (or Wireless) Broadband   Data services provided over the mobile telephony network through a portable modem, mobile phone, USB wireless modem, tablet or other mobile device. 3G mobile networks offer speeds 1-20 Mbps / 550 Kbps. 4G: 2-50 Mbps / 1-10 Mbps. Speed performance will be effected by the number of users accessing the network at any one time and external factors such as surrounding buildings and weather patterns
Hybrid Fibre Coaxial HFC Cable Networks utilising both optical fibre and coaxial cable for the delivery of Pay TV, internet and voice services. Dat speeds ~110 Mbps / 26 Mbps. Speed can vary depending on usage of the network.
Backhaul   Refers to the high speed, high bandwidth connection that ISP's have to the internet and then in turn provides to customers
Black Spot   A location where mobile (phone) coverage cannot be accessed for any of the carriers
Fibre Optic   A technology that uses glass (or plastic) threads (fibres) to transmit data.
Point of Interconnect POI The connection point that allows Service Providers to connect to the nbn's access capability.
Fibre Access Node FAN A facility (normally in a Telstra exchange) that houses active equipment to serve a Fixed-Line Serving Area and/or Wireless Serving Area. They connect up to a POI to provide retail services to end users.
Fibre To The Premises FTTP Network design in which optical fibre network is deployed to each premises from a point of interconnect (POI). It involves connecting homes and businesses with an optical fibre cable which can be used to provide a range of high-speed broadband services and phone services. Typical speeds 100 Mbps / 40 Mbps
Fibre To The Basement FTTB Network design in which the fibre network is deployed to the basement of a building.
Fibre To The Node FTTN Network design in which the fibre network is deployed to the node (i.e. a VDSL cabinet) from POI or exchange, while copper lines are used for the connection between the node and the Premises. The node will serve about 1000 premises
Fibre to the distribution point FTTdp Network design in which the fibre is delivered to a "distribution point unit" junction box or DPU near the premises before connecting via the copper network to a residence. The DPU will on average service about 6 premises.
Fixed Wireless   Network design in which network connections are provided through radio signals using fixed transmission towers or base stations communicating 'over the air' with specific NBN equipment that's inside and outside the home. Offers speeds up to 25 Mbps / 5 Mbps
WiFi   WiFi is commonly used to connect multiple electronic devices to other WiFi certified devices, catering for simultaneous connections from various devices ideally suited for an office environment
WiFi hotspot   An area with an accessible wireless network often in public areas.
IP Telephony (Internet Protocol Telephony) VoIP An IP telephone system uses Voice over IP (VoIP), or internet telephony, to transmit telephone calls over the internet instead of the circuit switched telephony used by the traditional telphone suystem. Also known as VoIP phone systems.
Integrated Services Digital Network ISDN An international communications standard for sending voice, video, and data over digital telephone lines or normal telephone wires.
Remote Integrated Multiplexer RIM A device that Telstra uses to provision telephone services in areas where there is no existing copper, or the existing copper in the ground cannot support the demand for services in the area.
Multi Dwelling Unit MDU A site that includes more than one residential or business premises, such as a block of apartments, cluster of townhouses or office building.
MTM   Multi-Technology Mix. A term used in reference to the nbn rollout where Multupli different technologies are used to deliver the service
National Broadband Network nbn The nbn will provide high-speed broadband access to all Australian homes and businesses through a mix of three technologies: optic fibre, fixed wireless and next generation satellite. nbn Co is the wholesale provider which will be resold through telecommunication companies.
Retail Service Provider RSP A third party provider of retail broadband services to end-users.
Transit Network   The fibre rings which connect the regional FAN sites and the nearest POI, served by Transit Fibre.
Voice over LTE VoLTE Allows you to use the Mobile Network to make phone calls on your compatible handset. Up until recently this network has been reserved exclusively for mobile data usage.
Brownfields Rollout   Refers to nbn rollout that happens in existing built-up areas.
Greenfields Rollout   Refers to nbn rollout that happens in new developments or estates. Generally, if these premises are within the fixed-line footprint, they will have access to Fibre to the Premises technology.

This page was last updated on: 05 August 2016