NBN Sky Muster satellite: What you need to know

Best for most
Iinet
iiNet NBN 25
  • pro
    30GB peak data
  • pro
    $44.95/mth
Cheapest NBN 12
Ipstar
IPStar NBN 12
  • pro
    10GB peak data
  • pro
    $30/mth
Cheapest NBN 25
Ipstar
IPStar NBN 25
  • pro
    10GB peak data
  • pro
    $35/mth
Most peak data
Ipstar
IPStar NBN 25
  • pro
    150GB peak data
  • pro
    $130/mth
Most data overall
Activ8me
Activ8me NBN 25
  • pro
    65GB peak data
  • pro
    $54.95/mth
January 11, 2022
4 min read

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Even the original NBN rollout plan comprised of Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) for those in metro areas, Fixed Wireless NBN for those in rural and regional areas, and NBN Sky Muster satellite was meant for those in remote and offshore homes. While metro areas are now comprised of five different NBN technologies, NBN satellite is still used in some of the harder-to-reach places across the nation.

What is NBN Sky Muster satellite, and how does it work?

NBN Sky Muster satellite has almost everything you need to know about the basics of the technology in its name. There are other competing satellite services (like Starlink), but NBN satellite uses two Sky Muster satellites to provide internet to remote and offshore parts of Australia. These satellites are positioned some 36,000km above Earth and offer a finite amount of overall bandwidth, which has to be shared among all NBN satellite users.

The Sky Muster satellites beam data to and from a satellite dish that’s affixed to the outside of a home or positioned somewhere on the property. This satellite dish then connects to a wall outlet inside the home, which feeds a cable to the NBN connection box. An Ethernet cable connects the NBN connection box to router so that the internet can be shared around the home.

NBN Sky Muster satellite plans

Regular Sky Muster plans are built on the slowest NBN speed tier, NBN 12, while Sky Muster Plus plans operate on the NBN 25 speed tier.

Below is a daily updating list of popular Sky Muster (NBN 12) satellite plans from our comparison engine:

Alternatively, below is an NBN satellite plans comparison for Sky Muster Plus (NBN 25):

NBN Sky Muster satellite providers

While there are dozens of NBN providers that we track in our comparison engine, there are only a handful that sell NBN Sky Muster satellite services, which doesn’t include big names like Telstra. Here are the NBN satellite providers we track in our database:

  • Activ8me
  • SkyMesh
  • IPStar
  • Southern Phone
  • iiNet

NBN Sky Muster satellite speeds, latency and data caps

Because the Sky Muster satellites are 36,000km above the planet, it’s understandable that speeds can’t compete with fixed-line NBN technologies. In practical terms, those signed up to regular Sky Muster (NBN 12) plans can expect max speeds of up to 12Mbps download and 1Mbps download. For those on Sky Muster Plus (NBN 25), download speeds can reach up to 25Mbps and upload speeds of up to 5Mbps, although they can also potentially burst above these speeds, too.

Latency, though, is the bigger issue, which sits around 600ms. Compare this to fixed-line technologies, which have average speeds that are around 20ms (at worst), and NBN satellite users should expect real-time tasks like online gaming and videoconferencing to have a noticeable delay.

Unlike all other NBN technologies, NBN Sky Muster satellite plans have data caps, separated into on-peak (7:00am to 1:00am) and off-peak times (1:00am to 7:00am). An entry-level NBN satellite plan might have 25GB of data separated into 10GB peak and 15GB off-peak data. Alternatively, the priciest plans have up to 300GB of monthly data, either separated into 65GB peak and 235GB of off-peak data or, more expensively, 150GB split across peak and off-peak data.

NBN Sky Muster satellite modem

The NBN connection box or Network Termination Device (NTD) is the official name for an NBN Sky Muster satellite modem. This will be installed by an NBN technician as part of the initial setup, alongside the external satellite dish, wall outlet and required cabling. You could feasibly connect a network cable to the NBN connection box to use internet on a single Ethernet-capable device, otherwise you need to use an Ethernet cable to connect the NBN modem to a router.

Your NBN satellite provider may offer a compatible router or you can source your own, but this networking device will allow you to share the NBN satellite connection around your home via WiFi and multiple Ethernet ports.

Check out the list below for an idea of NBN satellite plans that either come with a router or give you the option to purchase one:

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs other NBN technologies

In terms of ranking NBN technologies, NBN Sky Muster satellite sits on the bottom because the nature of the technology powering it means it provides the slowest speeds and the highest latency:

  1. FTTP
  2. HFC
  3. FTTC
  4. FTTB
  5. FTTN
  6. Fixed Wireless
  7. NBN satellite

For specific comparisons, here’s how NBN Sky Muster satellite stacks up next to all other NBN technologies.

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs Fibre-to-the-Premises NBN

Fibre-to-the-Premises is currently the best form of internet you can get in Australia, capable of connecting to all NBN speed tiers up to and including gigabit plans, most of which offer unlimited data. Because it’s a full fibre connection, FTTP allows for faster speeds, lower latency and greater reliability than NBN Sky Muster satellite.

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs Hybrid Fibre Coaxial NBN

Hybrid Fibre Coaxial is a similar story to FTTP, except that it doesn’t offer a full fibre connection. Instead, fibre is connected to the pay TV coaxial network, which is capable of some seriously fast speeds on unlimited-data plans. This is why most HFC homes are able to sign up for NBN 250 plans while some can even sign up for NBN 1000 plans.

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs Fibre-to-the-Curb NBN

Fibre-to-the-Curb is the newest form of NBN broadband technology, which uses a mostly fibre connection that has a short run of copper wiring to complete a home’s link to the NBN. While not as speedy as FTTP or HFC, FTTC homes can sign up to NBN 12 and NBN 25 plans with unlimited data, as well as NBN 50 and NBN 100 offerings.

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs Fibre-to-the-Building NBN

Fibre-to-the-Building is very similar to FTTC technology in that it uses a mostly fibre connection before converting to copper for the final stretch. Like FTTC, FTTB homes also have access to unlimited-data plans on all NBN speed tiers up to NBN 100.

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs Fibre-to-the-Node NBN

Fibre-to-the-Node is technically the slowest NBN technology because it uses, on average, 450 metres of copper wiring to complete its connection from a fibre source. Like NBN Sky Muster satellite, certain FTTN homes can only sign up to NBN 25 plans as their fastest option. Still, most FTTN homes can reach NBN 50 speeds while some can sign up for NBN 100 plans.

NBN Sky Muster satellite vs Fixed Wireless NBN

Fixed Wireless NBN and NBN Sky Muster satellite are quite close in terms of how they work. Both connect to the NBN wirelessly and require external antennae to be installed on your home. Still, Fixed Wireless NBN homes can sign up to NBN 50 plans, which can theoretically even hit speeds of up to 75Mbps. Also, Fixed Wireless NBN plans tend to come with unlimited data.

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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