High-bandwidth internet plans

  • Updated

In January 2024, we introduced the Prime plan, our fastest nbn® fibre plan to date. With typical evening speeds as high as 600Mbps, it is perfect for even the most hardcore home office, gamer, or 4 K streamer.

But if you’re not seeing the speeds you expect on your Prime plan, you’ve come to the right place.

Getting high bandwidth speeds involves various factors. Remember that performance will always be better on Ethernet than on Wi-Fi, but if Ethernet speeds still aren’t wowing you, there are a few things to consider when testing.

It’s important to note that 1000M is the wholesale product description and representative of the “layer 2” (Ethernet frame) throughput. Because traffic to the internet and back happens over “layer 3” (IP), which adds additional packet header information and overheads (source and destination IP, etc). The maximum achievable layer 3 throughput is approximately 930Mbps.

Speed test best practices

For the most reliable speed test results, follow the steps below when starting a test.

  • Make sure you are testing with Pentanet’s speed test or the Ookla desktop app speed test.
  • Portable or mobile devices will perform worse than desktops in speed tests. If you are unable to access a desktop PC for the test, make sure these are set to performance mode.
  • Make sure your PC has a gigabit Ethernet adapter installed, and that you are using Gigabit capable switches or network devices, and that all Ethernet links are reporting full 1000BASE-TX speeds. Old or faulty cabling can often cause autonegotiating devices to link at a rate of 100Mbps (100BASE-TX) which will result in speeds closer to 90Mbps.
  • Make sure there is no other traffic on your network/over your service at the time you are performance testing. Other traffic will consume available bandwidth and/or fill the buffers of your network device/s, giving unexpected results.
  • Make sure you aren’t using a USB Ethernet adapter, including one included as part of a docking station.
  • Note that web browsers can substantially impact speed tests. For this reason, we recommend using the Ookla desktop app when possible.
  • Make sure the power profile of your PC is set to ‘best performance’ or an equivalent.
  • Make sure you are connecting with Ethernet to the nbn® NTD and achieving a gigabit Ethernet connection. If you use a USB dongle or external Ethernet adapter, ensure it connects at USB 3.0 speed. You can check this by following this guide.

Router performance

Your router may be holding your network speeds back. Routers, especially older models, have a limit on the speeds they can provide, even when you’re connected via Ethernet. This is why we always recommend a Pentanet router when a subscriber joins our network, as BYO routers may be unable to keep up with your new speeds.

The best way to test if this is the case is by running a direct PPPoE test.

Still not getting speeds you’d expect when testing directly to your nbn® NTD? There could be several internal factors at play.

Key factors impacting Ethernet performance

  • Some USB Ethernet dongles can limit your speeds. Particularly, USB 2.0 Ethernet dongles.

  • Your CPU might be busy with other processes, slowing down processing capabilities and connection rates. You might also be using too much internal memory (RAM), which may inhibit speeds. By checking the task manager on your computer, you can see how much of your computer’s resources are being used when attempting to run a speed test.

  • Anti-virus software can use a large amount of system resources, which may restrict speeds.

  • Bad network interface card (NIC) drivers can cause internet issues, particularly when attempting to achieve high speeds.

  • Aggressive power-saving options may be set in your operating system, limiting your maximum internet speeds.

Key factors impacting Wi-Fi speeds

  • The Wi-Fi standard plays a significant role in determining the maximum achievable speed. The latest Wi-Fi standards, such as Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), are designed to offer higher data rates. However, to achieve the full potential of the Prime plan, both the router and your device must support these standards.

  • Wi-Fi operates on different frequency bands and can use different channel widths. Wider channel widths generally allow for higher data rates. However, wider channels may result in more interference, especially in crowded Wi-Fi environments. If you want to know how to adjust your Wi-Fi channels, check out this article and contact our support team if you need further assistance.

  • Wi-Fi performance can be affected by interference from other electronic devices, neighbouring Wi-Fi networks, and physical obstructions. In a busy Wi-Fi environment, achieving consistent high speeds can be challenging. Even your fridge and microwave can disrupt your Wi-Fi connection, so it’s best to keep your router in an area clear of these kinds of issues.

  • Wi-Fi signals weaken as you move farther away from the router or encounter obstacles such as walls. Achieving the peak download speeds the Prime plan offers may only be feasible within a limited range around your router, free of obstructions.

  • The capabilities of devices (laptops, smartphones, etc.) also play a role. If your device's wireless network adapter cannot support high speeds, you won't be able to achieve the higher speeds the Prime plan can provide.

  • In areas with many Wi-Fi networks, interference and congestion can lead to reduced performance.

Please see this article for more information on Wi-Fi's role in the home.


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