What you need to know about NBN modem routers

We know that the NBN can sometimes seem like this big, complex, whizz bang, superfast internet highway that's going to save the world. And that's mainly because we believe it just might! But don't let the technical jargon or huge infrastructure confuse you. Most of the things that will impact your day-to-day usage will feel pretty familiar.

One of the most important components of your NBN connection is your NBN modem router. It's a vital piece of the puzzle that connects your computer to the internet and allows you to create your own Wi-Fi network. So what exactly do you need to know about this special little device? Here's the info you need.


When you browse, download or stream online, your computer is actually exchanging data with another computer. This connection happens over the copper telephone network which sends and receives analogue signals as sound frequencies - Yep! It's pretty old school and wasn't originally built for the internet!

A modem translates these analogue sound frequencies into digital data that the computer can understand.

A router can then be connected to the modem to create a Wi-Fi network.

A modem router does the same thing but simply combines these two devices into one piece of hardware. Almost all newer modems are actually modems and routers combined, including the Modem provided to all new Optus NBN customers.


So you might be wondering if you need to buy a fancy new modem router to join the NBN. Unfortunately there's no one-size-fits-all answer here, so it's best to check with your modem router manufacturer.

If you own a relatively new Optus modem then it's highly likely you won't need to buy any new equipment. We've been NBN-ready for a while, but if you're unsure about your Optus modem you can call us on 1300 652 080 and we'll double, triple check for you.

New Optus customers can receive an NBN-ready modem router at no additional charge when they sign up to one of our new NBN plans. It comes as part of an easy-to-use Optus Self Install Kit. For complex installations we can arrange for one of our professional technicians to assist you for an additional fee.


If you plan on taking full advantage of the speeds available on the NBN in your area, your modem will play an important role.

On top of having an NBN-ready modem, there are a few things you can do that may optimise your connection:

Use an Ethernet cable instead of Wi-Fi
A direct connection between your modem and device through an Ethernet cable will always provide a more stable connection when compared to Wi-Fi. There are no obstacles or competing devices to obstruct the data transfer - we hope you're paying attention serious gamers and entertainment streamers!

Place your NBN modem in a suitable location
Your NBN modem will need to sit within 1.5m of your NBN Connection Box. You will get to decide where your NBN Connection Box goes in your house. If you're a renter check with your landlord before getting your equipment installed. It should be inside your home in an easy to reach location, in a dry and dust-free area away from small children and pets.

Don't forget to think about your television if you're a Fetch user.

Consider a Wi-Fi booster
For large homes or buildings with thick walls, a Wi-Fi booster may be helpful. It's a small box that plugs into a power socket, connects to your modem via Wi-Fi and then amplifies Wi-Fi coverage for mobile devices.

Speeds will vary for every individual and you probably won't reach (or ever need to reach) that 100Mbps. But with a good modem set up, you can definitely take full advantage of your NBN connection.


If the NBN is already available in your area but you're not connected or don't yet have an NBN-ready modem, have a look at our NBN plans. We'll send you a shiny new NBN-ready modem when you sign up to the plan that suits you best and get you connected ASAP!

And good news, we'll happily sort out all the techy stuff and organise an appointment with NBN Co for the service installation (if you need it). Then NBN Co will come to your home or apartment and install any equipment required.

If NBN hasn't reached your area yet you can still pre-order your NBN plan and Optus NBN modem. NBN Co. will notify you when service is available in your area or you can check the rollout map, and we'll reach out when the time is right to get the ball rolling.

To check the NBN is available in your area use our address checker today.