Telstra today launched its third generation NBN Smart Modem, alongside some pretty big claims. The telco says its new modem offers faster performance than any other major provider, based on internal testing with methodology approved by an independent third-party research organisation.
Telstra found its new Smart Modem 3 bested all major competitors in terms of Wi-Fi performance, including Optus, Aussie Broadband and Vodafone, by a significant factor. When using a device in the same room as the modem, the Telstra Smart Modem 3 recorded 776Mbps of throughput, while the Optus Ultra Wi-Fi modem (a Sagecomm F@ST 5366 LTE) clocked 558Mbps.
When three rooms away from the modem, Telstra found its modem still achieved speeds of 63Mbps, while the Optus offering only hit 35Mbps. Vodafone and Aussie Broadband’s respective modems couldn’t achieve signal strength in these situations.
Here’s the full breakdown:
While not everyone needs throughput this high, it’s especially important if you’re taking up a NBN 250 or NBN 1000 plan so that you can actually use the speeds you’re paying for.
Wi-Fi 6 is the secret sauce behind the Smart Modem 3’s performance, and Telstra is the first major NBN provider to offer next-generation wireless connectivity on its default modem. In addition to faster speeds, Wi-Fi 6 offers increased capacity to enable more concurrent usage, and is more battery efficient for connected devices. Devices do of course need to support Wi-Fi 6, but this is becoming increasingly common across both phones and laptops.
The Telstra Smart Modem 3 is bundled with Telstra NBN plans at no extra cost. Here is Telstra’s current Upfront range of NBN plans:
These plans are completely contract-free, and if you cancel during your first 24 months, you can simply return your modem. If you don’t return the modem, you’ll pay a $200 exit fee. Existing Big T NBN customers can head into a Telstra store if they want to upgrade to the Smart Modem 3 for an extra $9 per month on a 24-month term. This can’t be done online yet.
And here’s how Telstra’s NBN 50 plans compare to the providers it compared its modem to:
Telstra’s Smart Modem 3 also features 4G backup in case your NBN carks it. Download speeds are limited to 25Mbps, while upload speeds are capped at 5Mbps. This is however the fastest 4G backup of any NBN provider. Optus offers 25Mbps down and 2Mbps up, while Vodafone and iiNet do 12Mbps down, 1Mbps up.
Gizmodo Australia understands the Smart Modem 3 has a more powerful modem module when compared to its predecessor, so some customers should see better backup speeds than they did with the Smart Modem 2.
Alex Choros is Managing Editor at WhistleOut, Australia’s phone and internet comparison website.