What to do if there is an nbn® outage
Even though nbn offers faster and more reliable internet connections than ADSL, outages that prevent you from connecting to the Internet can still occur. But not being able to connect to the internet does not always mean there is a nbn outage.
In this guide we will take you through the steps you need to take before contacting your service provider, unless you have a power outage affecting your home or area. Most nbn technology does not work during a power outage, and even nbn devices that have battery back-up only work for up to five hours without power.
Check the network status
Before you do anything else, use your smartphone or mobile connection to check your service provider’s Network Status page. This will show any known nbn outages in your area, along with details of the outage and when it is expected to be resolved. Problems with the nbn are listed as outages or degradation, with an outage resulting in no internet connection for an extended period, while degradation meaning your internet connection might be intermittent or slower than normal. Both outages and network degradation can be caused by faulty nbn infrastructure or maintenance work being carried out.
Some outages are planned, and your service provider’s Network Status page might include these, helping you prepare in advance for upcoming outages.
If your service provider’s Network Status page shows your area as being affected by an outage or degradation, there is nothing you can do until they have resolved the issue. If there is no known outage for your area, work through the next steps before contacting tech support.
Check your router or modem
If checking the Network Status page shows that there are no known outages in your area, your next step will be to check your router or modem, and the nbn connection box if you have one. Not all nbn technology requires a connection box.
Although modems differ slightly, look for the Power, WAN/ADSL/Sync, Internet, and WLAN lights on the front of the modem. These four lights should all be on. If you have an nbn connection box, there would also be four lights on the device, and all of them should be on.
If any of the lights are not on, first refer to your service provider’s nbn® set up instructions to confirm you have connected all the cables to the device correctly.
Restart your router or modem
You’ve now confirmed that all the cables are connected correctly to your modem or router and nbn connection box, but you still don’t have an internet connection. But before you call tech support, there’s still one simple but important step to take:
1. Turn your modem or router off. If you also have a nbn connection box, turn this off too.
2. Wait 30 seconds, then turn them on again.
3. Wait until all the lights on both devices are lit up. This could take up to 10 minutes for modems and routers, and up to 20 minutes for the nbn connection box.
4. Once all the relevant lights are on and stable, try connecting to the internet again.
If this does not resolve your issue, you would now need to contact your service provider’s tech support department, unless you have any electronic devices that are plugged directly into your router or modem.
Run a device isolation test
This step is only necessary if you have any electronic devices plugged directly into your router or modem. These could include:
- Telephone handsets and/or extension leads
- Fax machines and answering machines
- Splitters or filters
- A Back to Base alarm (only if you can do this safely)
- Smart TVs
- Set-top TV boxes, such as a Foxtel or Fetch TV device
If any of these devices are faulty, they could interfere with your internet connection.
Begin by unplugging each of these devices from the router or modem. Leave the power cable plugged in, along with the cable that connects directly to the nbn wall socket or connection box.
Next, turn the modem or router off (and the nbn connection box if you have one) and wait 30 seconds before turning it back on. Wait 10 to 20 minutes for the Power, WAN/ADSL/Sync, Internet, and WLAN lights on your router or modem to turn on, and the four lights on the front of your nbn connection box.
Check if you can connect to the internet now using a wireless device, such as your laptop, phone, or tablet; something that was never plugged directly into your router or modem.
If any of the lights do not come back on or you can still not connect wirelessly to the internet, jump straight to contacting tech support.
But if all the lights are back on and you can connect to the internet, you can now begin connecting all the electronic devices you previously unplugged, one at a time. Plug one device back in and check if the internet is still working before plugging the next device in. If your internet stops working after you have plugged a certain device in, you now know which one is faulty or causing a problem and can contact the supplier of the device for further action.
Contact your service provider’s tech support
The reason we recommend the above steps before contacting your service provider’s tech support department is because many internet connectivity problems are local, and these steps can either fix the problem, or help identify where the problem lies. So, while it might take a bit of your time to work through each step–rarely more than half an hour–it can speed up actual support, and get you connected to the internet faster than jumping straight to contacting tech support.
What if my internet is slow?
If your internet connection is working but very slow, there are still a few things you should do before contacting your service provider:
1. Check the Network Status page. If it highlights your area as having degradation issues, this could cause your connection to be slow. Because it is a known issue, there is no need to contact support unless it remains slow after the degradation issue is resolved.
2. See if your internet is slow all the time, or only at certain times of the day. If it is slow all the time, try restarting your router or modem, and your nbn connection box if one is installed. Contact tech support if this doesn’t fix the problem.
3. If your connection is only slow at certain times, it could be because of activity in your own home, or congestion on the nbn in your area. The more people you have in your home all trying to use the internet at the same time can slow things down, especially if they are using any streaming services, gaming online, or downloading large files. Changing to a plan with a faster speed can fix this.
4. If your neighbours also complain about slower speeds, there might be congestion on the network in your area. Your service provider won’t be able to fix this themselves, but by bringing it to their attention they can escalate it to NBN Co for further investigation.
Having a small amount of data loaded on your mobile phone is useful for those rare occasions when nbn outages affect you. It not only allows you to check if this is a general outage, it also allows you to still connect to the internet until the outage is resolved, which is important if you work from home.