What Is NBN HFC (Hybrid Fibre Coaxial)?

Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC) is a type of broadband technology that combines the speed and capacity of fibre optic cables with the reliability and reach of traditional coaxial cables.

It is one of the technologies used by NBN Co, Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN), to deliver high-speed internet access to homes and businesses across Australia.

HFC offers faster speeds than other forms of fixed-line broadband, such as ADSL or VDSL, allowing users to stream movies in HD quality or download large files quickly.

With its combination of reliability, speed, and coverage, it is becoming an increasingly popular choice for those looking for reliable internet access in Australia.

Here’s a typical HFC Setup:

 

NBN HFC Connection
Pic source: nbnco.com.au

 

How HFC works and its advantages over other forms of fixed-line broadband?

But what is HFC exactly? And why should you choose it over other types of fixed-line broadband connections?

How does HFC work? 

HFC networks involve a combination of fibre optic cables and traditional copper cables. The two cable types are connected in ‘hubs’ located around the neighbourhood. The hubs then distribute the signal to homes and businesses in the area that have opted for an HFC connection. 

The optical fibre cables provide faster data speeds than traditional copper cables, while the copper cables allow the network to cover longer distances with fewer hubs.

This makes HFC faster than ADSL2+ or basic NBN connections, but slower than FTTP (fibre to the premises) connections. 

Advantages of HFC connections 

As well as being faster than other forms of fixed-line broadband, there are several other advantages to choosing an HFC connection over ADSL2+ or basic NBN connections.

These include:

• Lower latency—this means your online gaming experience will be smoother and more enjoyable; • Higher download limits—many providers offer unlimited downloads on their higher-tier plans;

• Easier installation—HFC connections only require minimal cabling between your modem and wall outlet;  

• Better reliability—your connection won’t be affected by wet weather or power outages like ADSL2+ or basic NBN connections can be. 

In addition, many providers offer attractive discounts which make an HFC connection even more appealing for those who want fast speeds at a lower cost.

 

Benefits of using HFC for internet access in Australia

 

Ultra-Fast Speeds & Low Latency 

HFC promises the highest possible speeds available on the market today, reaching up to 1Gbps download speeds and 50Mbps upload speeds.

This means that heavy downloads—such as movies and video games—can be completed quickly and reliably while streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu experience low latency with no buffering or lag.  

Better Data Caps 

Unlike other types of internet connection such as ADSL2+ or Wireless NBN, HFC has better data caps, which means you get more data than what you used to with ADSL.

Of course, it’s still important to practice responsible browsing habits and be mindful of how much data you’re using each month (in case you are not on an unlimited plan)

Reliable Performance & Coverage 

Thanks to its combination of fibre optic cables and coaxial cables, HFC is incredibly reliable compared to other types of internet access available in Australia.

It also covers a wide range of areas across the country, so there’s a good chance that you’ll be able to get an HFC connection if you live in an urban area or major city.  

Day to Day examples of how to use your HFC connection

Stream Movies Instantly

If you’re a fan of streaming movies, then an HFC connection is ideal. With its high speeds and low latency, HFC ensures that your movie streams will never be interrupted by buffering or lag. That means you can watch your favorite films in crystal-clear HD without any issues.

And since streaming services like Netflix only require 5 Mbps for HD streaming and 25 Mbps for 4K streaming, even basic packages offer all the speed you need. 

Download Files Quickly

An HFC connection isn’t just great for streaming movies—it’s also perfect for downloading large files quickly. Whether it’s music albums from Bandcamp or software from Steam, an HFC connection makes it easy to get your downloads done faster than ever before.

And since most people use less than 10 Mbps for general browsing activities, even basic plans offer plenty of speed for downloading large files over the internet.

Plus, because an HFC connection requires no modem rental fees (when the modem is bought outright), it’s even more cost-effective than traditional broadband connections.  

Play Games Online

Finally, if you’re a serious gamer who wants to compete in online tournaments or play against friends across the country, then an HFC connection is essential.

Thanks to its low latency and high speeds, an HFC connection allows you to play without any lag or slowdowns—even when playing intensive games like Call Of Duty or Fortnite.

A bonus is that many providers offer gaming-specific packages that come with higher download speeds and unlimited data usage—so you don’t have to worry about hitting any bandwidth caps while gaming online!

Is HFC better than FTTN?

HFC networks are widely used in Australia and offer high speeds, reliability, and low latency when compared with other technologies.

FTTN stands for Fiber To The Node or Fiber To The Neighborhood. In this type of network, fiber optic cables are laid down to a central node, usually located in a neighborhood or street corner. From there, copper wires or coaxial cables are used to connect individual homes to that central node.

As with HFC networks, FTTN provides high speeds and low latency but has some drawbacks such as increased line noise and signal attenuation over longer distances. As a result, it is not suitable for delivering very fast speeds (above 100 Mbps) over longer distances (more than 1 km). 

Do I need a modem or router for HFC?

Yes, to connect to the internet, you would need a WAN router that will plug in directly to the HFC box. You can always get this router from your local technology store or your service provider.

What routers are compatible with NBN HFC?

  • Netgear Nighthawk XR500 Pro Gaming Router (For Gamers)
  • TP-Link Archer AX20 Router (For businesses & homes)
  • ASUS RT -AC68U Dual Band Router (For businesses & homes)

Other notable routers worth mentioning:

  • ASUS CM-32
  • Netgear Nighthawk AX8
  • TP-Link Archer C4000
  • D-Link DIR-X6060:

Tips on choosing an NBN provider

Cost & Coverage 

When looking for an NBN provider, the cost is likely one of the first aspects you’ll want to consider. There are plenty of options that offer competitive prices and special deals, so make sure you compare them all before making your decision.

But there are other factors beyond price to keep in mind. For example, if you’re living in a regional or rural area, coverage may be limited and some providers may have better coverage than others.

Make sure you do your research on this as well so that you don’t end up stuck with slow or spotty Internet service due to bad coverage from your chosen provider. 

Data Allowance & Speed 

Another important factor to consider when choosing an NBN provider is the speed and data allowance they offer.

Different providers will have different tiers of speeds available and different amounts of data included in each plan, so make sure you select one based on what works best for your needs.

If streaming TV shows or movies are important to you, then look for a plan with more data allowance; if gaming is more important, then look for higher speeds; if both are equally important, then look for a plan that offers both speed and data allowance at a reasonable rate. 

 

Customer Service & Support 

Finally, customer service and support should also be taken into account when selecting an NBN provider. Not all providers offer the same level of customer service or technical support, so make sure you read up on reviews before settling on any particular company’s services.

It’s also worth asking around among family members or friends who may have had experience with certain providers—word-of-mouth recommendations can be invaluable when searching for reliable services like these!                                 

Our Top Pick: Aussie Broadband 

Aussie Broadband has been our top pick for the best HFC NBN provider in Australia for quite some time now. They offer great plans at affordable prices and their customer service team is always available to help with any questions or issues you might have.

Plus, their network performance is fantastic and their plans come with unlimited data so you don’t need to worry about going over your monthly limit! 

Are you having issues with your HFC connection? Click through to get in touch with one of our internet expert technicians today!

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...