Internet Explained 

We go through what the internet actually is, the terminology and how everything all works and fits together


Indended for people to imporve their general knowlege so they can start

looking at tech adoption for their small business 

Internet Breakdown

What is upload and download? When your computer receives information into it, the computer is downloading information. When your computer sends information away (uploading a picture to facebook / the mouse click input to navigate the internet) the computer is uploading information. This is why your download AND upload speed is important. ADSL has very slow upload speeds (restricted by the technology itself), so it’s very worrying when we see 45.7% of businesses still are on ADSL.

What is ADSL? Its a type of technology that sends high frequency sound between your modem and your ISP via an old school phone line that was installed 60+ years ago. Remember with dial up, and you would pick the phone up, and here the deerrr dee deerr, well dial up was just the low frequency version of ADSL, and because of the frequency difference, human ears can audibility here the data transmission via dial up. Humans cannot hear the ADSL frequencies going down your phone line and is also how you can be on the internet and phone at the same time now days. (Voice and data is sent along the same phone line via different high/low frequencies, dial up just was sent on the same voice low frequency, also why dial up was very slow in comparison to ADSL)

What is the NBN? NBN is the Australian Governments response to a globalized digital world. The NBN company itself, is a company that builds and designs computer networks/wholesale internet products, that then sells those products to ISP’s (Telstra, Optus, iiNet) for people and businesses to buy/use via their ISP (Internet Service Provider)

What technology is offered by the NBN via an ISP (Telstra/Optus/iiNet)? 

FTTC – NBNco runs fibre to the end of your street, then it terminates into a device that converts the data from light (fibre) into sound (DSL) to go via your old phone line that was installed 60+ years ago, to your house/business. This is quite a poor system as it is bottlenecked on the DSL component of the solution.

FTTH/FTTP – NBNco’s original design, NBNco runs fibre from their network, directly into your house/business. There is no limit on download or upload speeds with fibre and will be the benchmark and standard for years to come. Currently NBN offer speeds of a max of 100/40. Many places in Europe provide fibre internet connections, when I was in the UK, we had a 300/180 connection, that was in 2016. When I built and designed fibre optic networks in Melbourne, I was delivering services of 10,000 mbit’s to private corporations (Big4/Insurance/Finance) that was 2014-2015.

You can use the “Technology Choice Program” at NBNco, to upgrade to a FTTP connection (at your own expense, costs depending on existing network infrastructure)

Wireless – NBNco runs fibre to a transmission tower, where the transmission tower broadcasts the signal to your microwave dish on your roof, this is primarily used in regional areas as it is significantly cheaper than deploying cabled/physical infrastructure to remote communities. One downside is you have higher latency though that’s the price to pay, as providing fixed infrastructure would be too cost prohibitive in certain regional areas. But you get the fast download / upload speed. 

Satellite – NBNco has deployed its own satellites to service ultra regional areas, to people and business that cannot access the above technology choices. You can download and upload at a reasonable speed via Satellite (in a perfect world – though its highly saturated) though the limitations of the technology are latency, (500ms+) as your internet needs to exit this planet’s atmosphere to work.


Extra Reading

Example of Australias internal fibre optic network (Hard to get a concise image, as most networks are privatly owned generally by publically traded companies)

Companies lay fibre optic cables under the sea (approx 99% of internet traffic is transmitted this way)

 What is Ping?

Ping is the echo request/response round trip time between two computers. It’s a simple handshake request from the client verifying the existence of the end point (server).
e.g. Client -> Server “Are you there?”, Server -> Client “Yes, I am.”

Read More – Wikipedia

What is Latency?

Latency in the networking field is synonymous with Ping. Generally meaning round trip time of a unit from A to B.

  • Latency increases/Delays are caused by distance, errors and error recovery, congestion, the processing capabilities of systems involved in the transmission, and other factors.
  • Even if you remove these hardware-type delays, you still have the speed-of-light delay. It takes nearly 30 ms to send a bit through a cross-country fiber-optic cable, a delay that can’t be eliminated.
  • Delays of distance (called propagation delays) are especially critical when transmitting data to other countries (especially when you consider all the equipment along the way that adds delay).
  • Delay problems with real-time traffic
  • Delay problems with transaction processing systems
  • Problems with variation in delay (jitter)
  • Causes of delay, including congestion, processing delays, queueing delays, and propagation delays
  • Survey of TCP performance issues that result in delay
  • Monitoring and controlling delay (traffic management, traffic shaping, and traffic engineering) – Done by your ISP in an Business Unit called the “NOC”
  • Other solutions to the delay problem, including content distribution architectures, QoS (quality of service), prioritization, and differentiated services.

Read More – Wikipedia

For every 1km of fiber optic cable there is 0.01ms of latency. For every 100 kilometers of cable there is a 1ms delay, and for every 1000 kilometers of cable there is 10ms of delay.

So from Melbourne to Sydney that’s about 878.4 kilometers which equates to approx 8.7ms. Round trip being 17.4ms. That’s not counting any delays from hardware (router/switch etc) along the route your data passes or any of the other listed delays. That’s also not considering the complete route is 100% fibre and a very straight line. – In the real world, its approx 33-40ms round trip between Melbourne and Sydney

Routes are not direct, nor are the straight. Routes zig zag, thus increasing distance.

Network Speed, Bandwidth, Throughput

Bandwidth is the maximum units of data that can travel through a ‘channel’ in X units of time. For example 250 Mbps (Megabits per second) means a maximum of 250 Mb per second.
250Mbps is not faster than 200Mbps in matters of speed ( data latency..A to B ).

Think of it as small pipe vs big pipe. In 1 second the bigger pipe will transfer more water (volume) than the little pipe. Thus, the same file is downloaded faster for the big pipe, than the small pipe.

Yet, if the 200Mbps user is closer to the destination, it can/will download said file faster do to less latency.

A 20Mbps cable user in Melbourne can technically download a 10MB file from Sydney faster than a 200Mbps fibre user in Dubai or London. (Due to geo-graphic distance, and the need to route via differnt undersea cable providers that your ISP pays for, on your behalf)

The “Throughput” of a connection is the “actual” maximum units of data that can travel through a ‘channel’ in X units of time do to network route, distance and delays (refer to delays above).
e.g. You may have a 250Mbps connection, but you only get a throughput of 212Mbps.

Furthermore your local connection may be fibre, but beyond that locality it may be (usually is) copper.
e.g. House to ISP and ISP’s surrounding network (e.g. 100 miles) may be fibre, beyond that it can be copper.

NO ISP can guarantee your data’s route to be 100% fibre. They can only make that guarantee as long as the startpoint and endpoint (destination) is on their network. They control the first hop destination, beyond that the independent exchanges control the route.

Mb vs MB
There are 8 Megabits (Mb) in 1 Megabyte (MB)
250Mbps equates to 250Mb / 8 = 31.25MBps
200Mbps equates to 200Mb / 8 = 25MBps



Once your data goes over land, it exits Australia via two points, either in Sydney or Perth





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