Types of Internet Connection

There’s a range of internet connection types to wrap your head around in Australia, from the NBN to home wireless, mobile broadband and more.

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, updated on September 25th, 2023       

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Are you curious about the various types of internet connection available in Australia? There’s a range of technologies that power our online experiences. In Savvy’s helpful guide, we'll delve into the different types of connection on offer around the country today. Whether you're looking to understand the fundamental differences between the NBN, home wireless, mobile broadband and ADSL or you're exploring options for your home or business, find out all you need to know with us here!

What types of internet connection are available in Australia?

There’s a wide range of potential options when it comes to connecting your home or business to the internet in Australia. The connection types available today are:

National Broadband Network (NBN)

The NBN is a government-driven initiative which aims to provide high-speed internet access to homes and businesses across Australia via fixed line connections. It offers a range of speed tiers to suit different needs, which are:

  • NBN 12: 12Mbps download, 1Mbps upload
  • NBN 25: 25Mbps download, 5Mbps upload
  • NBN 50: 50Mbps download, 20Mbps upload
  • NBN 100: 100Mbps download, 20Mbps or 40Mbps upload
  • NBN 250: 250Mbps download, 25Mbps upload
  • NBN 1000: 1Gbps download, 50Mbps upload

In terms of establishing a connection, there’s a wide range of options for how your home or business is hooked up to an NBN plan. This can range from purely fibre optic cables (Fibre to the Premises) to a combination of fibre optic and coaxial (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial) or copper cables (Fibre to the Node, Curb and Building). Rural properties can also connect to the internet via radio (Fixed Wireless) and satellite signals (Satellite).

Home wireless broadband

Home wireless broadband uses mobile networks to deliver internet access to your home. This either comes via the widely available 4G network or the newer, more powerful 5G network which can rival some of the faster NBN speed tiers (but is more limited in its availability as of September 2023).

It typically involves a modem that connects to the mobile network in your area, providing Wi-Fi connectivity within your home or business. This option is suitable for areas with good mobile coverage or who simply wish to move away from the NBN.

Mobile broadband

Mobile broadband allows you to access the internet via mobile networks in the same way as home wireless broadband, but the difference between the two is that this type of internet is designed for on-the-go use. As the name suggests, this broadband is more portable, rather than being fixed to one stable location.

In terms of how to connect to the internet via mobile broadband, you can choose from the following options:

  • Data-only SIM: in its simplest form, mobile broadband can be activated via a SIM card inserted into your tablet, laptop or any other compatible device. These are also inserted into dongles and pocket Wi-Fi devices.
  • USB dongle: a USB modem, also known as a dongle, can be plugged into a laptop or any other compatible device to provide you with mobile internet.
  • Pocket Wi-Fi: this is a transportable modem which can establish a Wi-Fi network for multiple devices to connect to at once wirelessly.

Mobile broadband plans can also either be prepaid (paid before usage period and recharged when required) or postpaid (paid after usage period on an ongoing basis).

Fibre internet

Fibre internet is essentially the same as the NBN, with the difference being that these plans are offered by private providers. They can deliver ultra-fast and reliable internet through dedicated optical fibre cables like the NBN.

However, in most cases, availability for these plans is much more limited comparatively and connections are only available via Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), ruling them out as an option for those without this connection type.

Cable internet

Cable internet plans rely on existing pay TV infrastructure to deliver internet access. It’s important to note that these plans are only available in areas where the NBN is yet to be rolled out and are offered by very few providers. Once the NBN reaches your area, your cable internet connection will be overhauled by new technology, such as a Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) connection.


ADSL internet plans use existing copper phone lines to provide internet access. It offers variable speeds based on your distance from the exchange, with maximum speeds not exceeding the lowest NBN speed tiers in many cases. The NBN was essentially designed to replace the existing ADSL infrastructure around Australia, so these plans are only on offer to those without the NBN available.

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Compare internet plans with Savvy

Regardless of whether you're looking for an internet plan for a one-person household or for your medium to large business, you can compare a range of offers from leading Australian providers side by side with Savvy. Get started with a free, no-obligation quote today!


Savvy is partnered with Econnex Comparison (CIMET Sales Pty Ltd, ABN 72 620 395 726) to provide readers with a variety of internet plans to compare. We do not compare all retailers in the market, or all plans offered by all retailers. Savvy earns a commission from Econnex each time a customer buys an internet plan via our website. We don’t arrange for products to be purchased directly, as all purchases are conducted via Econnex.

Any advice presented above is general in nature and doesn’t consider your personal or business objectives, needs or finances. It’s always important to consider whether advice is suitable for you before purchasing an internet plan. For further information on the variety of internet plans compared by Econnex, or how their business works, you can visit their website.