Home cabling for the NBN

Don't overlook the all-important cables when you move to the NBN so you can bring the net to every room in your house.

Cabling done right

Wiring your home is an important consideration when you're moving to the national broadband network (NBN) says the Australian Cabler Registration Service. It provided CHOICE with some cabling information for consumers.

Upgrading your home's cables and wires to handle technology often gets overlooked, but it is very important if you want to have a network that delivers the NBN internet services you want, where you want them. Cabling is just as important for creating the best wireless network at home too. 

See the CHOICE wireless router reviews for the right gear to safely secure your home Wi-Fi network.

Home cabling dos and don'ts

The don'ts

  • Don't do the cabling yourself, it is illegal.
  • Don't use just any cabler, use a registered cabler.
  • Don't use telephone extension cords for connecting your internet devices.

The dos

  • Do make sure you get as much cabling as possible installed when you are renovating or building from new, as it's the cheapest time to do it.
  • Do talk to and use a registered cabler.
  • Do make sure you get the TCA 1 form for any cabling work.
  • Do plan the cabling to suit the technology you want at home.

Plan your cabling

Your home will get up to three types of hardware to deliver the NBN. Most people will get an NBN connection box as well as a home gateway, or router/modem, that connects to the NBN connection box once you have chosen your telephone and internet service provider.

The NBN connection box is usually installed inside the garage or the room nearest the front of the house.

nbn cable

The home gateway is typically installed next to the connection box and will have a socket for the internet and another socket for telephone lines. The home gateway should also have Wi-Fi or wireless capability. It's important to consider where to put the wireless gateway so that it reaches the whole house. Some people opt to have it in the middle of the house or apartment, while in two-storey homes you will probably need one on each floor.

RJ45 socket

The cabling to support both internet and telephone services is the same and is known as Cat 5 or Cat 6 (Cat meaning category). Cat 6 has the highest performance as it will support very fast (or gigabit) speeds, to give you years of service.

A home distributor is also useful because it lets you locate the NBN connection box, gateway and room cabling together so that equipment is in one easily accessible place and can be protected.

RJ45 socket is mounted on a wall plate and the cabling from the home distributor to each room is terminated at this point.

Finding a cabler

Under the telecommunications Act 1997, only a registered cabler can install telecommunications cabling in concealed locations such as through walls, ceilings and floor cavities. You can search for a cabler near you on the Registered Cablers website.

All registered cablers will have a card that shows their registration as well as any additional qualifications to install Cat 5/6 cable. This is written on the registration card as "Structured cabling or Cat 5 cabling".

When a cabler completes any work they are required by law to give you a compliance form called the Telecommunications Cabling Advice form 1 (TCA1). The form should describe the work they have done and contains a statement that reads, "I hereby certify that the cabling work described in this advice complies with the Wiring Rules (AS/CA S009 or its replacement)." If the cabler does not give you one, you can download the form from the Australian Communications and Media Authority's website. Just type 'TCA1 form' into Google and you will find it.

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