Telstra updates NBN modem for 4G voice

Telstra has a new modem for its NBN customers, and it comes with a neat failsafe for voice: mobile.

Connecting to Australia’s National Broadband Network has been a bit of a rocky ride for much of Australia.

If you’ve been lucky enough to have it built in your area (because many are still waiting), you’d have hoped it was one of the faster technologies, something like the old Fibre-to-the-Premises (FTTP) or the cable-based Hybrid-Fibre Coaxial (HFC), and not the connection to the node in the street, Fibre-to-the-Node (FTTN).

When that was eventually decided for you, it had to be installed properly and set up with your home, a process that didn’t always go along smoothly.

Then you had to change your existing setup and hope your NBN company got it right, taking down your home phone along with your internet in the process.

Things are run a little differently on the NBN, with home phone run through the modem connecting them to the NBN, and that means when there’s a disruption to broadband services, home lines go down.

While many of us don’t use home phones anymore, those of us that still do have it there for a reason: it’s how family and friends call, and if you live in an area where mobile connections aren’t as solid throughout the entire home or you have friends that only want to call on the landline, it’s still very much a part of your life.

But when those broadband services go down, that’s a problem, and Telstra reports there are still three million calls made and received every day by its NBN customers using a home phone. Obviously, that’s down in recent years as mobiles have gained greater use, but it’s still a big number.

So to help with any issues in the future, Telstra is doing something in the prevention of any issues that might arise: it’s using the mobile network as a sort of failsafe backup mechanism.

Granted, it’s not the same type of backup as Vodafone uses in its NBN modem, with Vodafone opting for a mobile connection if the NBN goes down for internet.

Rather, Telstra’s approach is to use the 4G network for voice calls if the broadband service goes down, something it’s rolling out in the Telstra Smart Modem 2.

There’s also a slightly different design in the new modem, as well as analytics to look at WiFi performance in the home, looking for interference and signal strength to help its support team work out what’s going on, potentially getting them to a solution faster when support problems arise.

We’re not sure how quickly this one will take to get out to customers of Telstra’s NBN, but if you’re at all concerned your Telstra NBN connection might go down and you’ll lose your voice, it might be time to call up and see if you can’t get this new one installed for a peace of mind backup.

Telstra’s gen 2 Smart Modem
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