Crappy NBN FTTN Modem – here are a few better ones (2023 update network guide)
The term Crappy NBN FTTN modem covers a lot of sins. The chief is that they are invariably low-cost (<$150), usually Wi-Fi 5 AC1600, have low antenna signal strength and are not designed to support more than a few devices.
But then Joe and Jane Average don’t know that. The first sign is slow internet; the second is Wi-Fi dropouts, and finally, no useable signal in some areas (read Fix Wi-Fi blackspots fast and often at no cost).
Now we are talking about NBN Fibre to the Node (FTTN) customers because these modems (well, modem routers) need to connect via VDSL2 (using the standard telephone socket). You have many more options with Fibre to the Premises (FTTP) or HFC cable as these have a standard Ethernet connection (don’t need a VDSL Modem).
Here are a few options to reuse or replace your crappy NBN FTTN Modem.
Keep the crappy NBN FTTN modem – use it as the NBN Gateway
This means that you need to buy a better router or mesh router that suits your needs. Our Seamless whole-of-home Wi-Fi now easy with Wi-Fi 6 (guide) may help point you in the right direction, but it comes down to a Mesh router system or a full router (and possibly a Wi-Fi extender).
The new Mesh/router plugs into the Gateway (Ethernet LAN port to router WAN Port) and takes over the home network. There is no need to alter your old gateway settings.
2023 – The definitive answer to your prayers
Until now (February 2023), you had the option of a standalone router or a Mesh system using Wi-Fi or Ethernet backhaul. While these are suitable for most homes, there are major issues with signal strength and reach with multi-story and large homes. Wi-Fi backhaul simply does not penetrate thicker walls, cupboards, windows, doors, and more and satellite extenders must be within 5-7m of the main router.
TP-Link has solved the Wi-Fi backhaul problem by using an innovative G.hn Ethernet over Power backhaul system. Simply plug the router into the Internet gateway and power and plug the satellites into power anywhere in the house, garage, back shed etc. You now have high-speed, flawless internet everywhere.
Our review TP-Link Deco PX-50 Mesh/Powerline Wi-Fi 6 AX3000 – the perfect 10 will show you how easy and relatively inexpensive ($699 for a three-pack covering 600m2) it is to get seamless Wi-Fi everywhere in your home.
Tri-band mesh is the only Mesh to get as it dedicates one band to backhaul. Choices include
- TP-Link Deco X90 AX6600 ($899 two-pack).
- NETGEAR ORBI AX6000 ($1199 two-pack RBK852) – will be replaced by Netgear Orbi 860 Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 AX6000 mesh network – speed and savings
- Netgear Orbi RBKE963 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E AX 11000 mesh (network review)
All are excellent, and with extra Satellites, can expand coverage (each cover about a 20-metre diameter circle 300m2).
Tri-band routers and Extenders include
- Archer AX90 AX6600 8-stream ($548) paired with the RE605X (AX1800 $169) or RE505X ($149 AX1500) extender. TP-Link Archer AX90 AX6600 Tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router and RE505 AX15000 range
- Archer GX90 AX6600 8-stream ($599 as above with a focus on gaming)
- Archer AX11000 12-stream ($638 as above)
- NETGEAR Nighthawk AX6600 8-stream paired ($599) with the AX8 AX6000 HE160 8-stream Mesh extender ($499)
- NETGEAR Nighthawk AX11000 12-stream ($799 as above)
- Netgear RAXE500 AXE11000, Wi-Fi 6E Router (network review) Wi-Fi 6E
The Nighthawk AXE11000 and AX8 AX6000 extender are the fastest for spectacular performance. The Archer OneMesh extenders are limited to AX1800, but these still provide heaps of speed.
Don’t buy the crappy NBN FTTN modem in the first place – a better option.
You can buy better VDSL modems
- Archer VR2800 (RRP $399 but at some stores for $299) is an AC2800 (nearly twice as fast as the cheap router), and it is plug-and-play. Connect your VDSL phone line to it, and it should work. Otherwise, a quick call to your NBN ISP will get it going (some ISPs require you to ‘kick’ the old router off the network first). You can connect any router or mesh system later if you need to expand coverage.
- Archer also has a VR2100V ($269 with two phone ports)
- Archer also has a VR 2100 ($229) AC2100 without phone ports (you can always add a $50 VOIP adapter later).
- TP-Link Deco has a new Wi-Fi 6 Deco X73 Wi-Fi 6 AX5400 Mesh router ($399) with two phone ports, 4 gigabit Ethernet, and you can add Mesh satellites ranging from AX1800 to AX6600. TP-Link Deco X73 DSL AX5400 modem/router – every NBN FTTN user should have.
- D-Link has a Viper AC2600 ($379.95) – with no phone ports, and it currently does not have a Mesh VDSL system.
CyberShack’s view – crappy NBN FTTN Modems – you get what you pay for
We started by saying Joe and Jane Average don’t know about modem/routers, so it is all too easy to accept what is on offer.
Why not put that $150 towards the TP-Link Deco X73 ($399)? That gives you not only over four times the speed, phone ports and Wi-Fi 6, and you can easily add satellites later.
Or, if you have already bought the gateway, it is hard to beat the TP-Link Deco X90 2-pack Mesh at $899.
Or the nirvana – The $699 TP-Link PX50 Ethernet over Power Mesh – you cannot do better.