Technologies

This page explains the common Internet access technologies that are used to bring the Internet onto your premises.

Fibre

Fibre optic cables uses thin strands of glass not copper which provide much higher speeds than copper and can provide that speed at any distance from the cabinet. This means that you choose what speed of access you want to pay for and you get that, it is not dependent on the quality of your line. Fibre is one of the most future proof technologies as there are regular improvements in technology that get faster speeds from fibre by changing the equipment at each end rather than replacing the fibre cable.

Fibre is the core technology used in the Government funded Ultra-Fast Broadband (UFB) initiative. As Fibre to the home is new those building it are only laying the cables nearby to premises and anyone who wishes to use Fibre will need the Fibre connected to their house. This connection is generally free in UFB areas.

Fibre is a wholesale network, which means that the companies that build it do not sell it directly to consumers, who must instead use a retail ISP.

Cable

Cable broadband is only available within the areas of Wellington, Christchurch and Kapiti. Cable offers fixed download speeds of up to 100Mbps, though at a slower upload speed than Fibre.

VDSL

VDSL uses the traditional copper lines that are already installed to most houses and business but it only works within a short distance (up to 1km in some cases) of a VDSL enabled cabinet or exchange. Not all cabinets are VDSL enabled. VDSL can provide quite high speeds and is a good alternative where Fibre is not yet available. Unlike Fibre you cannot choose what speeds you get, you just get the maximum that the equipment can manage.

VDSL speeds can vary significantly due to a number of factors including copper quality, line length, misconfigured electric fences and ground moisture. Unfortunately there may be a few examples where this site shows that VDSL is available but when the ISP runs a test before installation it turns out not to be available. Equally there are a few examples where this site shows that VDSL is not available but it is.

VDSL is a wholesale network, which means that Chorus, the company that maintains the network, does not sell it directly to consumers, who must instead use a retail ISP.

ADSL

ADSL also uses the traditional copper lines that are already installed and is the most common Internet access technology in NZ. It can work for much longer distances than VDSL (up to 6km in some cases) but does so at a much lower speeds. All cabinets are ADSL enabled but some work at slower speeds than others. As with VDSL you cannot choose what speed you get, you just get the maximum the equipment can handle.

As ADSL works at lower speeds than VDSL it is less susceptible to environmental factors but these can still affect it. Unfortunately there may be a few examples where this site shows that ADSL is available but when the ISP runs a test before installation it turns out not to be available.

ADSL is a wholesale network, which means that Chorus, the company that maintains the network, does not sell it directly to consumers, who must instead use a retail ISP.

Wireless

Wireless, also known as Fixed Wireless uses radio waves. To use it you will need an antenna somewhere on your property that has line of sight view of a provider's radio mast. Wireless can sometimes be faster than ADSL or even VDSL and is a good choice for properties that cannot get either or where the ADSL speed is very slow.

Working out if you can actually get Wireless can be complex because there are many local features that can get in the way that this site cannot account for. For example tall buildings or trees can block the line of sight needed. You may be required to climb onto a roof to confirm that you can see the provider's tower or a site visit may be needed.

Some wireless networks are built and sold by local ISPs and the service is only available from that ISP.

Cellular (3G/4G)

Mobile (cellular) broadband is how mobile phones access the Internet and with 4G the speeds can now exceed 100Mbps. 4G is in the process of being rolled out across the country. For those that want to use mobile broadband for the home or office there are devices available that take a 3G or 4G SIM and provide a local WiFi hotspot.

This site has not been supplied with any data on Cellular networks, except where cellular technology is used to deliver fixed wireless networks, in which case we categorise it as Wireless.

Satellite

Satellite uses a fixed dish that talks to a satellite in orbit around the Earth and provides download speeds of up to 25Mbps. You can do almost all of the same things as with a terrestrial broadband connection but as all satellite communications is subject to a delay called 'latency' as the packets travel to and from the satellite, this type of connection is not suitable for online gaming and there will be noticeable delays (0.6 seconds or so) with voice or video conversations. Some satellite connections can also be affected by adverse weather conditions.

This site does not provide any data on Satellite connectivity but we are working on that. Until then, if you can get satellite TV then you should normally be able to get satellite broadband.