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What I REALLY Want from the NBN

Generally I haven’t had a positive attitude towards the NBN. It doesn’t seem likely to fulfill the claims of commercial success and would be a really bad thing to privatise anyway. Also it hasn’t seemed to offer any great benefits either. The claim that it will enable lots of new technical developments which we can’t even imagine yet that aren’t possible with 25Mb/s ADSL but which also don’t require more than the 100Mb/s speed of the NBN never convinced me.

But one thing it could really do well is to give better Internet access in remote areas. Ideally with static or near-static IPv6 addresses (because we have already run out of IPv4 addresses). Currently 3G networks do all sorts of nasty NAT things to deal with the lack of IPv4 addresses which causes a lot of needless pain if you have a server connected via 3G. One of the NBN plans is for wireless net access to remote homes, with some sanity among the people designing the network such NBN connections would all have static IPv6 subnets as long as they don’t move.

I’m currently working on a project that involves servers on 3G links. I don’t have a lot of options on implementation due to hardware and software constraints. So if the ISPs using the NBN and the NBN itself (for the wireless part) could just give us all IPv6 static ranges then lots of problems would be solved.

Of course I don’t have high hopes for this. One of the many ways that the NBN has been messed up is in allowing the provision of lower speed connections. As having an ADSL2+ speed NBN connection is the cheapest option a lot of people will choose it. Therefore the organisations providing services will have to do so with the expectation that most NBN customers have ADSL2+ speed and thus they won’t provide services to take advantage of higher speeds.

3 comments to What I REALLY Want from the NBN

  • IPv6 is awesome, but it’s not relevant to NBN discussion. NBN strictly deals with layer 2. IPv6 is a layer 3 problem, and always will be.

    (Actually the NBN does some layer 3 stuff with the internal SIP UA on the NTU’s provided FXS ports. Sadly that only supports IPv4, but is irrelevant to your Internet connection anyway.)

  • etbe

    It is technically possible to roll out an entire new network today with IPv4, and even though such a network would require lots of new devices I guess that they could use private addresses a lot. But in practice I think that anyone who is doing NBN stuff is going to be doing IPv6. The costs of running only IPv4 will keep increasing and I hope that everyone involved in the design decisions will realise that IPv6 is the only way to go for new deployments.

    But as you have noted they are apparently using some IPv4 already, this is not a good sign.

  • Robert Mibus

    The IPv4 stuff for the ATA is IMHO a red herring, it’s using private addresses and isn’t accessible by end-users – not to mention, there’s enough trouble now doing v6 ATAs and SIP servers (at a carrier level), it would not have been better when they started a few years ago…

    Anyway – I just wanted to say that the low-speed NBN plans are still faster than DSL for random users; the three 2+ services I’ve had over the years have been at most ~7Mbps. Being able to assume 12 is a great step, particularly for services like IPTV (where one has to have the right equipment in the exchange, not be on a RIM or CMUX, have a stable line, and still get above ‘n’ Mbps).