NBN provider network protocols compared

There are two main types of network protocols when it comes to connecting to the NBN: PPPoE and IPoE. Here’s how they compare.

June 27, 2022
3 min read

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It’s a lot easier to get online these days than it used to be. Forget about obnoxious dial-up tones, telephone cable splitters or filters. Modern internet has advanced to a very convenient, mostly plug-and-play place.

But regardless which of the best NBN plans you want for your home, there are a couple of key network protocols that may impact your sign-up process. Before we dive into all of that, take a look at this daily updating list of popular NBN plans from our comparison engine.

NBN network protocols: PPPoE vs IPoE

There are two main network protocols that all NBN providers use—PPPoE and IPoE—which may also be referred to as “encapsulation authentication type” or similar, depending on the provider. PPPoE is short for ‘Point-to-Point Protocol over Ethernet’ and it’s been around for a very long time. If you ever used any form of ADSL internet back in the day, you were very likely using a PPPoE connection. Technical jargon aside, PPPoE connections require a username and password to get online, which is supplied by your internet provider.

The username and password combo is crucial to get online as it not only authenticates your connection with your internet provider, it’s also how your internet connection gets its all-important Internet Protocol (IP) address.

IPoE is short for ‘Internet Protocol over Ethernet’, and it’s a newer network protocol than PPPoE. It’s also arguably more convenient for internet users as it doesn’t require a provider-supplied username and password to get online. Instead, it mostly uses a Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) network server to automatically assign IP addresses to a provider’s customers.

Outside of the configuration of networking equipment, which includes first-time setup or shifting to upgraded gear, there aren’t any noticeable differences between choosing a PPPoE or IPoE provider.

Like how IPoE is a newer network protocol than PPPoE, PPPoA is a revision of PPPoE. Short for ‘Point-to-Point Protocol over ATM’, PPPoA is marginally faster than PPPoE. In lay terms, PPPoA has the added benefit of avoiding PPPoE hang-ups like websites that don’t fully load or email downloads and file transfers that may appear to freeze.

NBN PPPoE providers

In our comparison engine, we track more than 20 NBN providers. At the time of writing, just over half of these providers were using PPPoE to connect their customers:

If you’re currently an NBN customer for any of these providers (or plan on being with one of these providers), you’ll need to use a username and password for your router or modem-router to get online. Note that if you buy a router or modem-router from your provider, including providers like Dodo and iPrimus, it should arrive preconfigured. Note that Dodo and Mate offer static IP addresses, while Exetel also offers an opt-in static IP address (via the My Exetel portal).

Specific PPPoE settings vary between NBN providers for those looking for a manual router or modem-router configuration. Generally, though, the most important thing is a correct username and password supplied by your provider. Outside of this, the VLAN ID field should be left blank or disabled. You may need to contact your provider for specific MTU settings if the ‘auto’ option doesn’t work.

Dynamic vs static IP addresses

Most NBN providers offer dynamic IP addresses to their residential customers, while static IP addresses are the norm for business customers. As the names imply, a dynamic IP address changes while a static IP address remains the same. Static IP addresses make remote access, geolocation accuracy, server hosting and VoIP services easier. But the average user can get by with a dynamic IP address. If you’re a residential user after a static IP address, go with Dodo, Mate or Exetel. Alternatively, pay extra for a static IP address from Aussie Broadband, Internode, iPrimus, MyRepublic, Optus, Spintel, Superloop or Telstra.

NBN IPoE providers

While more than half of the NBN providers in our database use PPPoE, there are still quite a few that use the newer IPoE network protocol. If you’re with one of these NBN providers, you don’t need a username and password to get online. Here’s the full list:

By default, all of the NBN providers above use DHCP to provide a dynamic IP address, except for Pennytel, which uses static IP addresses.

SkyMesh PPPoE or IPoE

According to Whirlpool, SkyMesh customers may use either PPPoE or IPoE for NBN services, depending on whether internet is provided by Vocus aggregated services or via SkyMesh backhaul. If you’re a SkyMesh customer who’s uncertain about whether your NBN connection uses PPPoE or IPoE, reach out to SkyMesh support.

Nathan Lawrence
Written by
Nathan Lawrence
Nathan Lawrence has been banging out passionate tech and gaming words for more than 11 years. These days, you can find his work on outlets like IGN, STACK, Fandom, Red Bull and AusGamers. Nathan adores PC gaming and the proof of his first-person-shooter prowess is at the top of a Battlefield V scoreboard.

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