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  • Photo Galleries - Written by on Friday, February 4, 2011 12:45 - 37 Comments

    Photos: NBN Co network termination units

    Regular Delimiter reader and all-round telco commentator Michael Wyres was at a NBN Co briefing this week and took these shots of the company’s internal and external network termination units, which will be installed in homes and businesses. Michael has kindly supplied us with the shots, but we recommend you visit his excellent blog for a fuller explanation of how everything works.

    Image crdit: Michael Wyres

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    37 Comments

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    1. Posted 04/02/2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink |

      It’s white… Somebody call Apple.

    2. Posted 04/02/2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink |

      “Only Apple Inc can provide white electronics products, except the iPhone 4, but we won’t talk about that…”

      • Posted 04/02/2011 at 1:08 pm | Permalink |

        The room wasn’t very well lit…the two NTUs were both slightly off-white, so Steve should be okay with them.

        Mind you, the internal battery backup unit – (with the two round blue buttons on it) – was pretty well white, so he may have an issue there!

    3. Posted 04/02/2011 at 9:28 pm | Permalink |

      If anyone is unsure about how the NBN will come in to your home. Michael has a very good explanation in the comments on the blog post linked to in the article.

    4. Jerry
      Posted 06/02/2011 at 2:25 pm | Permalink |

      Are those switch ports???????? Awesome………………

    5. Jerry
      Posted 06/02/2011 at 2:48 pm | Permalink |

      Okay, so maybe not exactly all are switch ports……

      • Posted 06/02/2011 at 3:36 pm | Permalink |

        No, not switch ports in any way.

        Each is there as the interface to a distinct service from separate providers. Two voice, four data.

    6. Ivan
      Posted 07/02/2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink |

      Soooo much detail and explanation there … looks more like my new toaster than anything to get excited about.

      Why the fuss over a plastic box that could be anything?

      Is this a promo … or a joke?

      • Posted 07/02/2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink |

        Dude, the point of a technology news website, such as Delimiter, is to report on TECHNOLOGY news. The NBN NTUs are technology, and the fact that a lot of people, including myself, have not actually see the NTUs in the flesh as it were, Michael taking his time to post photos and report on the NTUs is actually quite interesting.

    7. Ivan
      Posted 07/02/2011 at 11:06 am | Permalink |

      Granted this gets your juices flowing – great! I could actually be interested in this.

      But how about a decent size pic … and a bit of technical description, so that the whole exercise becomes meaningful, instead of some kind of ego scoop for Michael – who by the way has done well to share the stuff.

      Come on – you might as well show me a paparazzi shot of Jane Smith from 2000 metres, and then tell me this is Jessica Alba!

      Clicking on the pic brings up an image about 9 to 10 cm with about 2 Mpx resolution.

      But I accept your point – it is like getting a glimpse of the Falcon GTHO in the late 1960’s prio to release.

      Don’t want to be too cynical. But … is there anything to see here … really?

      • Posted 07/02/2011 at 11:09 am | Permalink |

        hey Ivan,

        I normally set the width of photo gallery pics on Delimiter to 800, as I know that 1024 is a popular screen width for Delimiter readers using laptops, and I don’t want to take up their whole screen with a pop-up image. However, most of our readers are now on 1280 or above, so I will consider upping the resolution on future pics to 1024 and see how it goes.

        Cheers,

        Renai

        • Posted 07/02/2011 at 11:12 am | Permalink |

          My originals are 2592 x 1936 – Renai clearly had to resize them to an appropriate level…

    8. Ivan
      Posted 07/02/2011 at 11:31 am | Permalink |

      Thanks guys – I will try to tread gently in future – I shoot first and take names later at times – foot-in-mouth syndrome.

      I run a 24″ iMac with 1980 x 1200 res, but didn’t help.

      Should have just gone to your blog Michael.

      Cheers (sheepish) Ivan

    9. Gordon Drennan
      Posted 07/02/2011 at 12:16 pm | Permalink |

      Three fibres and 6 ports to every premises in Australia? This is the sort of solution you get from technical experts from a corporate background who are too close to their technology suppliers and their salesmen, and completely lack any customer focus. It is massive overkill designed to serve every possible technical need without any regard to cost effectiveness. It is what you get from people who consider paying for it someone else’s problem that they don’t need to be concerned about.

      How many premises are going to be subdivided, ever? Very few. Two fibres, a main and spare is enough. Two voice ports in an era when voice is going VoIP and fax is yesterday’s technology that only businesses still use? Ridiculous. Four data ports when each is a gibabit? Absurd. These people really need a reality check, and someone with a real-world background and a respect for the value of other peoples’ money supervising them.

      • Posted 07/02/2011 at 12:48 pm | Permalink |

        The voice ports ARE VoIP…that’s what an ATA is for…

        • Gordon Drennan
          Posted 07/02/2011 at 12:55 pm | Permalink |

          That’s the best you can come up with to rebutt the points I made?

          • Posted 07/02/2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink |

            Didn’t realise that this was a head-butting wank contest? But if you insist, okay:

            You’re trying to say the future is VoIP. The ONLY voice you’ll see on the NBN is VoIP.

            Three fibres to every premise? Sure…anyone who’s ever built a commercial grade network will tell you that you build in future capacity.

            Just because the 4 data ports are gigabit ethernet doesn’t mean you have a gigabit piping through it. Just because it seems a lot for you at home, doesn’t mean it’s not a lot for business in five, ten, or twenty years from now. Just because you don’t need it, doesn’t mean nobody needs it. Gigabit services are required and available for some business RIGHT NOW, so there’s no doubt that speed will still be required down the track.

            As for the tired old money argument – well, given the wholesale revenues for all connections between NTUs and POIs will generate annual revenues in the order of $2.5b – (read the business plan and go do the maths, some of us have bothered) – and the CVC circuits generating similar revenues – (the numbers have just changed with the increase from 14 to 120 POIs, and NBN Co themselves are still remodelling that change) – the thing WILL pay for itself.

            When the copper network disappears for 93% of the population, if you want any kind of service, say hello to the NBN – that’s heavy uptake, and when you consider you can have multiple services, the uptake figures the Coalition like to bag actually go beyond 100%.

            Happy now?

            • Gordon Drennan
              Posted 07/02/2011 at 2:47 pm | Permalink |

              1. VoIP is exactly why you don’t need two V ports. If you’ve got to hang a VoIP phone of it, or an ATA, then you can hang as many of them as you like off one port. All the V ports are doing is giving anything plugged into them better QoS and restricting their bandwidth.

              2. Sure you need to build in extra capacity. But we keep getting told that as time goes by we’ll be able to get more and more speed out of the fibre just by putting faster electronics on the ends. Sure that’ll require replacing the NTU. But have you got any electronics in your house that you’re still using that’s over a decade old? When you know you’ve got a solution to a problem you don’t spend money on a second solution too.

              3. Your argument that there are businesses that need all the capacity now it now, and a lot more that may need it in 5 or 10 or 20 years just demonstrates my point. The fact that someone needs it now and some more people will need it in the future does not justify the cost of giving it to everyone now. You don’t need a worst-case ever one size fits all solution. Everyone doesn’t have to have a 4-bedroom house and an SUV and a PABX. You have a small range of sizes, and give people what they need. And if they find they need more later you sell them an upgrade.

              4. Yes, the NBN may pay for itself. But the less it costs the easier it is to achieve that. The less you spend the less the customer has to pay and the more will pay for it.

              • Posted 07/02/2011 at 3:24 pm | Permalink |

                1) AND providing power to them when on the backup battery. I have mentioned this particular application before in my “all-too-typical” response and you plantively ignored it. How would you provision for power outages then?

                2) That doesn’t excuse not building in redudancy into the network. Two cables is workable, but considering the cost of them, Three cables is even better.

                3) Which is why I would support rolling out FTTN in remote towns rather than wasting money rolling out FTTH. But I would not support giving people an NTU limited to, say 100Mbps full duplex ports. Especially considering the cost of gigabit capable ethernet technology has dropped to such a price that the savings gained from using 100Mbps ports over 1Gbps ports will be minimal at best. (It’s the same reason why you no longer see computers with 512MB of RAM, despite the fact that a large percentage of people do not need 2 or 3 GB of RAM now do they? It’s not that more expensive to ofter more RAM, and in some cases, it’s actually cheaper).

                4) There is a difference between cost reductions for the purpose of making it the most cost effective solution, and cost reductions for cost reductions sake, which is what you are proposing here.

          • Adam
            Posted 07/02/2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink |

            How about you take a read of Michael’s blog – all your points are answered in this…

            http://michaelwyres.com/2011/02/nbn-end-user-services-taking-shape/

      • Posted 07/02/2011 at 1:14 pm | Permalink |

        And this is the sort of response I would expect from an indivdual who has no technical expertise in the field, or understanding of the financing of the field. In telecommications there is one thing, and one thing only you need to understand:

        Static hardware with dynamic requirements. The hardware you install will not change, but the requirements will continiously inrease. So you overbuild. This is STANDARD PRACTICE in the industry. There is dark fibre everywhere. We hardly even put a dent in our maximum theoritical undersea cable capacity. It may seem like overkill, it may seem like they have no regard for the consumer, but in reality they are actually just covering their arse in regards to future growth. Because in telecoms it is always high capital expendutire, and nomial operating costs.

        Let’s go through the points you may to justify your position that this is overkill and they could have done cheaper:

        3 fibres per residence: Now, granted, you are correctly a house will rarely be subdived more than once, however what you fail to realise is that the cost of installing another fibre when it is needed is expensive. The civic works are the THE MOST EXPENSIVE aspect of running new cables, be it copper or fibre, to a premise. So you want to avoid it as much as possible. Let’s say a house is subdevided, so you use one of the spares for the house up the back. It’s all good. However, a week later, when laying the power to new house the electicty company accidently puts a spade through one of the fibre optic cables. In your situation this takes a simple $500 job of running a fibre lead from the PCP to the new NTU into a $2000 repair and resplice of a cable in a hard to access duct, and also adds a two week delay to the installation of service. If there was, I dunno, a third cable running, they could just put a note in their records that one of the cables has been cut and use the third, allowing service to commence immediately, and preventing them for having to perform the expensive $2000 repair and resplice, defering the repair job to when they do regular maintaince instead. So it’s better for them to run three fibres considering how little extra it costs them to do it.

        Voice ports: Have you lived in Australia? Have you noticed that the majority, in fact, so many of them I can safely say ALL of Australian houses have PSTN telephone cables running throughout the house? Would it not be, I don’t know, useful to be able to utilise this preexisting network at minimum expensive? If you don’t have any voice ports this becomes kind of hard, because you have to fork out hundreds of dollars for a device that handles the VoIP traffic and converts it to PSTN, and what about when the power goes out? Oh we’ll need to spend another few hundred dollars on a UPS for our VoIP to PSTN convertor.

        Data ports: When the maximum service you deliever is 1000/400, and the options you have for data ports are 5/5 (half duplex 10Mbps), 10/10 (full duplex 10Mbps), 50/50 (half duplex 100Mbps), 100/100 (full duplex 100Mbps), 500/500 (half duplex 1Gbps) or 1000/1000 (full duplex 1Gbps), does it not make sense to chose the 1000/1000 (full duplex 1Gbps) because it saves cost on production (you don’t need to have multiple models for different usage requirements) and allows provisision for your greatest service without over complicating the install by requiring a technician to come and upgrade your box (I don’t know about you, but I personally have no experince splicing an OF cable into an NTU, do you?).

        I think it is you who needs a reality check, sir, because clearly you know nothing about how telecommications operation. I bet you are one of these people who think that “if you want FTTH you should pay for it” ignoring the fact that you can reduce installation costs BY AN ORDER OF MAGNITUDE by doing it en-mass (granted maybe not the entire country, but that is a different story isn’t it?)?

        • Gordon Drennan
          Posted 07/02/2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink |

          That’s the all-too-typical response of the NBN believers to anyone who questions it even the slightest, isn’t it? To make derogatory assumptions about their expertise and experience, and abuse and insult and try to shout them down. As it happens I spent a career implementing large-scale communications-related IT projects first as a technologist building them, then on the other side of the desk trying to manage those narrowly-focussed technologists.

          • Posted 07/02/2011 at 2:29 pm | Permalink |

            That’s an atypical response from someone who doesn’t believe in it – goes both ways.

            If you don’t – of course, that’s your perogative. But the moment your copper disappears, what are you going to use? If you truly disbelieve in it, you should never take a single service on it.

            You’ll be one of the few.

          • Posted 07/02/2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink |

            Further, lets look at some other aspects.

            By the year 2020 – (about the time the NBN is completed) – it is forecast that Australia will lose $20b in GDP every year through traffic congestion.

            http://www.bitre.gov.au/publications/49/Files/wp71.pdf

            If the NBN makes TRUE telecommuting viable for just 10% of the work population, we reduce congestion on the roads by 10% – ($2b saved GDP, every year). The 90% of the traffic still on the road is dealing with 10% less traffic, so there are productivity advantages for them.

            Now, 10% less traffic on the road generates 10% less carbon-based pollution from vehicles. How much would it cost to do that by itself? The NBN is a free hit in that respect.

            With 10% less traffic on the road, there should be a corresponding reduction in road accidents, reducing load on an already overloaded hospital system. This also lowers pressure on insurance premiums.

            How many unnecessary hospital and doctors visits will be eliminated by being able to consult a doctor online? More savings.

            There will also be less wear and tear on the roads, further saving funding in other parts of the economy. I’m sure there are many other flow-on benefits.

            The NBN is a big picture project, not a narrow telecommunications based project. We have to think big picture.

            There is an old saying – if you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got. Australia needs to change, or we’ll be left behind.

          • Posted 07/02/2011 at 3:16 pm | Permalink |

            “As it happens I spent a career implementing large-scale communications-related IT projects first as a technologist building them, then on the other side of the desk trying to manage those narrowly-focussed technologists.”

            If this is the case, both from the “technologist” point of view, and the “accounting” point of view why putting 3 fibres in the ground is better than 2 for long term planning.

            You would also know why they opted for voice ports on the NTU from a technical point of view (allows voice services to run in the event of power failure) and from an accounting point of view (allows the homes to reutilised an other depreciated asset).

            You would also know that designing multiple model NTUs is an expensive exercise, and that is much cheaper to bulk order a generic unit that you can bulk order and ship en-mass.

            You would know all this. And yet, you don’t seem to. Maybe you’ve been behind that desk you refer to for so long?

            I will apologise for insulting you questioning your experience. But that is it, because honestly, someone with experience such as yours should know better.

            And I didn’t yell, I wasn’t shouting you down, and I most definately was not abusing you. I was merely responding to your comment, under the assumption that you weren’t from the field of telecommications, and showing examples as to why the the design choices of the NTU and using 3 fibres are perfectly acceptable decisions, both from a technologist point of view, and from an accounting perspective.

        • Someone else
          Posted 07/02/2011 at 4:38 pm | Permalink |

          Hi NightKhaos,
          Interesting discussion. You may want to look up the difference between half duplex and asymmetrical, however :)
          Half duplex refers to a connection where both parties cannot transmit and receive simultaneously, nothing to do with speed (although a link that has erroneously negotiated/been set to XMbps/half duplex will have p1ss poor speed).
          Asymmetrical means a higher speed in one direction that the other, but both end can transit/receive in unison.
          A good place to start troubleshooting a link with bad throughput is to check that both ends have negotiated/been set to full duplex.
          I know it’s nit picking, but when the discussion involves some criticism of other peoples ability/experience, it’s always beneficial to your argument to get your own terminology correct.

          • Posted 07/02/2011 at 5:20 pm | Permalink |

            Apologises. You are correct. I did use half-duplex incorrectly. I was under the impression when I wrote that (for some reason, not entirely sure why, lack of sleep probably) that if a connection is unable to neogicate on all four pairs on ethernet cable it would revert to half speed, by using TDD, and hence be half-duplex. This is actually true of some implementations of 1000BASE-T, however it unclear to me wither they use TDD or FDD. (According to Wikipedia one such implementation is called “Ethernet@Wirespeed”), and as such in this mode it would ofter half the speed.

            • Posted 07/02/2011 at 5:26 pm | Permalink |

              And the failing of my logic continue to show when one points out that not all 4 pairs are used in 100BASE-TX or 10-BASET. *sigh*

              Brain, where art thou this day? Thou art confuse simple concepts and present ickly logic in otherwise well thought out and argued points.

        • Posted 07/02/2011 at 5:41 pm | Permalink |

          sed s/”5/5 (half duplex 10Mbps), 10/10 (full duplex 10Mbps), 50/50 (half duplex 100Mbps), 100/100 (full duplex 100Mbps), 500/500 (half duplex 1Gbps) or 1000/1000 (full duplex 1Gbps), does it not make sense to chose the 1000/1000 (full duplex 1Gbps)”/”10/10 (Ethernet), 100/100 (Fast Ethernet), 1000/1000 (Gigabit Ethernet), does it not make sense to chose the 1000/1000 (Gigabit Ethernet)”/

          As per correction from Someone Else. Please also allow me to take this opportininity to whack my head agaisnt the wall for getting half-duplex and “Ethernet@Wirespeed” confused.

      • Stephen
        Posted 07/02/2011 at 2:07 pm | Permalink |

        I am sure they throught the same thing when they ran extra strands of copper when you only needed 2 bits to get it the phone working.

        Ask anyone behind a pairgains setup about getting high speed broadband …. its like anything if you build it at the start it costs more but not as much as altering it at the end.

    10. NBN Commander Phone NTU's
      Posted 07/02/2011 at 7:18 pm | Permalink |

      Ha – ha – had a good look. This just shows how wrong the NBN has it.
      Imagine the business or consumer reaction in seeing this pile of junk.
      The NBN ‘Commander’ NTU range.
      Yep we have the homage NBN.
      The 1870 Pioneers NBN in overland telegraph network design.
      The 1930’s Socialist NBN in pricing and blatant pork barrelling and make work,
      The 1970’s East Germany TRABANT NBN in switches and design.
      And now the 1980’s COMMANDER NBN in end use equipment points.

      • Posted 07/02/2011 at 7:27 pm | Permalink |

        It’s a rarely seen piece of networking equipment that will likely sit in a cupboard somewhere. It doesn’t much matter what it looks like. But sure, you can go and stare at it, I’ll instead use it for the Internet. :P

    11. NBN Commander Phone NTU's
      Posted 09/02/2011 at 1:09 am | Permalink |

      ha ha ha (@Nightkhaos) spoken like a true out of touch techo.
      Why dont you NBN rent boys just give up. You have no idea of the real world or better choices.
      The whole NBN is junk. The logical, physical, usage, commercial and usage design.
      This end use equipment will be visible to millions (along with the batteries, power bills, hidden costs, forcing of usage). A lot of people dont want their communications to be via some hardwired fixed point
      junk in a cupboard. Most people in fact globally. Including the USA.
      You seriously think this is good gear. Its 20th century dated rubbish.
      It will remind everyone of a dark age we all thought we had got past.
      Commander, and thats exactly what it looks like. The NBN Commander NTU’s.
      Remember when you could only get a Commander phone – couple of lines, call waiting, pay for that.
      only via Telstra, 3 week delay in basic service calls. Telstra’s proprietary end use connection control.
      Billed as charge, thousands of % scamming and profit taking.
      Whole downsteam businesses living off the forced proprietary monopoly.
      Oh sir, we cant do this because the end use device doesnt support (this, that, anything much).
      Remember the frustration those cheap flimsy compromised devices caused in business and consumer. Whole User and Community groups emerged hating what they had forced on them.
      Remember when you could eventually plug in your own choice.
      That took over a decade behind the rest of the world..
      And then finally some real choice, albeit a constrained duopoloy and we still pay 5 x any emerging nation for basic communications.
      Well with this pile of EOL cheap, compromised, JUNK – we all go back 30 years. Yep because thats the design, Compromised, built in monopolisation and constraint. And we pay billions for it.
      A homage NBN. Cheap, crappy, ugly, expensive, proprietary, compromised junk.
      From the top down to ‘whats in your cupboard’.
      Expect the business and consumer reaction to be this.
      The NBN dies each time on reveal.

      • Posted 09/02/2011 at 9:30 am | Permalink |

        “ha ha ha (@Nightkhaos) spoken like a true out of touch techo.”

        I prefer to think of it as “slightly ahead of the game”. But being intereted in Technology does not prevent me from being practical and level headed.

        “Why dont you NBN rent boys just give up. You have no idea of the real world or better choices.”

        You mean like getting PoE to do is via changing the legistation, mandating minimum service requirement (something curiously absent from the Coalitions Broadband Plan), and susiding the development? You mean the very plan I would prefer over the NBN if I could get the politicans to agree to it?

        “This end use equipment will be visible to millions (along with the batteries, power bills, hidden costs, forcing of usage). A lot of people dont want their communications to be via some hardwired fixed point
        junk in a cupboard. Most people in fact globally. Including the USA.”

        The statistics of the matter actually do not agree with this, epecially when you consider technology like WiFi that allows (limited) portablity and freedom within the constraints of your household. The statistics show an explosion of mobile data plans, but this is explosion is not at the expensive of a fixed line connection. “Most people” it seems, based upon the statistics, have both. A connection that is from some “hardwired fixed point junk in a cupboard”.

        Also, you are not required to replace the backup battery if you don’t need it, your power bill has bigger issues right now like expensive air-conditioning in a lot of homes, oh and you aren’t being forced to use it. It isn’t being shoved down your throat. You can chose not to get a plan from an RSP, hell you can even opt-out of installing the fibre in the first place.

        “You seriously think this is good gear. Its 20th century dated rubbish.
        It will remind everyone of a dark age we all thought we had got past.
        Commander, and thats exactly what it looks like. The NBN Commander NTU’s.
        Remember when you could only get a Commander phone – couple of lines, call waiting, pay for that.
        only via Telstra, 3 week delay in basic service calls. Telstra’s proprietary end use connection control.
        Billed as charge, thousands of % scamming and profit taking.
        Whole downsteam businesses living off the forced proprietary monopoly.
        Oh sir, we cant do this because the end use device doesnt support (this, that, anything much).
        Remember the frustration those cheap flimsy compromised devices caused in business and consumer. Whole User and Community groups emerged hating what they had forced on them.”

        I think you should read up on what the NTU is, and how it is nothing, and I mean absolutely nothing, like a Commander system was. It is a generic device that terminates your network connection and provides access ports. THAT IS IT. It is, for all intents and purposes, like the “first port” that comes into your home from Telstra. From this NTU you can run a Broadband Router, connect a Foxtel box, run the phones using the existing phone loop, etc, etc, etc.

        “Remember when you could eventually plug in your own choice.
        That took over a decade behind the rest of the world..
        And then finally some real choice, albeit a constrained duopoloy and we still pay 5 x any emerging nation for basic communications.”

        And you can plug in your own choice into the NTU, your own router, your phones, your own PBX system if you want.

        “Well with this pile of EOL cheap, compromised, JUNK – we all go back 30 years. Yep because thats the design, Compromised, built in monopolisation and constraint. And we pay billions for it.
        A homage NBN. Cheap, crappy, ugly, expensive, proprietary, compromised junk.
        From the top down to ‘whats in your cupboard’.
        Expect the business and consumer reaction to be this.
        The NBN dies each time on reveal.”

        Expect business and consumer reaction to be what? A big wall of incomprehensible drivial? I hope not, because I was under the impression that Australian’s were more intelligent than this, and could do their own research. But maybe I’m wrong.




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    Will Netflix launch in Australia, or not?

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