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Will the NBN be able to handle millions of Australians working from home


The NBN will face it’s biggest test in the coming weeks with more Australians in history working from home in the wake of the coronavirus. Will the network be able to handle this unprecedented daytime traffic?

But NBN Co says it will be rising to the challenge as more people than ever before are forced to work and study from home while at the same time people are still streaming content and shopping online.

A team of data scientists and engineers have been studying consumption patterns in other countries that have also been affected by the aggressive spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).

The NBN has engineers strengthening the network to meet the expected onslaught from stay-at-home workers and students.

NBN says it will also increase its data capacity allocation to retailers to cope with the huge anticipated increase in residential data demand.

There are already systems in place for the NBN to handle the nightly rush hour on the NBN and that expertise will be put to use throughout the day as well.

Just last Saturday – March 14 – network traffic was up by more than five per cent from the previous week.

On a typical day, the NBN’s busiest period is 9pm with traffic between 9pm and 5pm around half what the is seen with the evening peak.

“The NBN is part of Australia’s critical infrastructure, and the role of the network has never been more important than now and what we see unfolding over the weeks ahead,” says NB CEO Stephen Rue.

“For many Australians, the NBN and other broadband and mobile networks will become the primary channel for work, study, entertainment, ordering food and maintaining contact with the outside world.

“As a telecommunications industry, we will work together to keep Australians connected and productive through this crisis.

These are unprecedented times and we are already seeing a steady increase in demand on the NBN, and this is set to continue. In terms of the expected requests for additional CVC capacity, we will work with the Industry to find the best solution. Clearly we all need to play our part.

“We are actively working with retailers and have the complete support of our government stakeholders to ensure we do everything possible to optimise the NBN to support the expected increase in residential use.

“We are in the fortunate position that more than 90% per cent of the national broadband network rollout has been delivered across the country, so the vast majority of Australians already have access to fast, reliable, secure broadband, which will serve them should they need or want to spend more time at home.”

Here’s what you need to know to get the best in-home experience with the NBN:

Get the right speed

–  Not all internet plans that you buy from your retailer are created equal. If your internet is slow it may be because you are on an entry level internet plan. Call your internet retailer and talk to them about the number of devices you have connected and how you are using the internet to find out if you have the right retail plan to support your needs.

Get the right plan

– Most home internet plans are used primarily to download (web browsing, movies, music) and as such have great download speeds, but are not as strong when it comes to uploading. When it comes to working from home you may have a greater need for uploading files and joining Skype calls so speak with your internet retailer to make sure your plan has the upload speeds you need to work from home.

Get optimum performance

– Keep your modem in a central location in the home, ideally close to where you’re working from. If it is housed in a cupboard, under a desk, or at the other end of your house this will reduce the speed you receive.

– Some routers may not deliver the best performance and speeds. If you are concerned about the age or quality of your router or modem, seek advice from your internet retailer on possible upgrade options.

– If your internet is down, it could be your Virtual Private Network (VPN) settings that you use to access your corporate intranet and files. Check to see if Google or other websites are working. If they are, then you may need to consult with your organisation’s IT help desk for remote networking troubleshooting advice.