TPG Community

Get online support

"FTTC Connection Device" = fancy way of saying "Standalone VDSL2 modem"?

Level 2

From what I can infer from the FTTC installation guide, this "FTTC Connection Device" is a separate, standalone VDSL2 modem.  Am I right about this?  And if so, how do I go about requesting this equipment instead of a combination unit?  (I'm willing to pay for one additionally, if necessary.)

The reason I ask is I already have my own high performance router I intend to use (a Linksys WRT3200ACM running DD-WRT, to be precise) and want a ***modem ONLY*** connected to the WAN port (yes I know I can place a combo unit into "bridge mode" but consider it unnecessarily redundant and purpose-defeating.)  Unless of course DD-WRT is available for either of the models potentially provided by TPG (I already know it's not - there's currently only ONE compatible combo unit, and I'm using that model right now - and it's ADSL2+, hence why it needs to be retired.)

I'm ESPECIALLY interested in acquiring an "FTTC Connection device" from TPG directly for two reasons:

 - TPG will support and warrant the device (I promise not to firmware mod theirs!)
 - I preemptively bought a used Netgear DM200 and flashed it with OpenWRT firmware (Netgear firmware is rubbish) and can't seem to get it configured properly or revert it to stock firmware.  So I either need to spend the weekend tinkering with it some more or somehow acquire another standalone VDSL2 modem, which I would prefer be a different make/model (it seems to be anything other than THAT model is practically nonexistent, or at the very least, generally available, from the searching I've done on eBay and elsewhere...)

I want to be up and running once my physical connection is actually live, which I hope will be sometime next week (I've been making noise on this for quite a while now.)

Any insight is appreciated.


Hi @alanpearsonau,


Welcome to TPG Community.


You can say that the NBN Network Connection Device (NCD) is like a VDSL2 modem, since it is connected to the phone outlet. If the NBN technology available at your premises is FTTC and there's no NCD installed on it yet, we will be sending the NCD to you along with the modem/router.


You may refer to this link.


The modem/router is free when you purchase our NBN bundled service as the home phone will only work with it. You can use your own modem/router given that it is compatible with NBN, but the home phone will not work.


The NCD (FTTC connection device) is owned by NBN Co. Any issues with it will be raised to them for investigation and will be replaced, if faulty.


Kind regards,
Level 2

This actually raises more questions than it answers:


 - That NCD is more than just a "modem", then... it somehow enables voice to work on the line?

 - If the voice service is indeed a "VoIP" service, it doesn't work without the NCD?  This eliminates the possibility of relocating the VoIP service "offsite" by just using a SIP-compatible device from what I can gather.  This would also provide an answer as to why you wouldn't use the combo unit's VDSL2 connection (or any other VDSL2 modem) as opposed to the NCD, but not necessarily an answer as to why TPG doesn't send a standalone router... seems as if VDSL2 functionality on the router becomes redundant (I personally will be using a high-performance Linksys router anyway.)

 - The line itself doesn't produce a "dialtone" like it does on traditional copper?  (I KNOW this isn't the case for HFC and FTTP connections.)

 - The NCD is intended to be connected directly WITHOUT any filters?  Makes sense in the event the line itself doesn't produce a dialtone, if I understand that correctly.  Kind of odd that VDSL2 filters exist, then...

I actually don't need landline service that badly so I'm gauging as to whether my setup could be simplified by eliminating it altogether.  It's especially not that important if it goes down if the Internet does (I already have an overseas VoIP service that I hope works better once I'm on NBN and I use a mobile for all of my Australian calls and most outgoing overseas calls.)


I looked up the NCD... I wonder who's bright idea it was to design it to run on AC power rather than DC... kind of makes it more difficult to power it via off-grid solar to increase reliability from power outages...

Just trying to understand how all of this works technically.  I'm an experienced IT professional (as well as a registered cabler) so I'm picky about knowing what's going on with everything.

Level 8

Hi @alanpearsonau,I can answer some of your questions.


To start with, the dial tone will be generated from within the modem (VR1600v)


A VDSL2 service can be modulated over a PSTN line although that won't be happening on your NBN FTTC sevice, you definitely won't be needing a VDSL/ADSL filter in your NBN installation.


With regards to powering the NBN FTTC connection device from a DC power supply.

Firstly it's designed with a 3 pin mains cable which suggests it needs to be tied back to mains earth. Most likely incorporating lightning protection. That wouldn't happen if an external DC or even double insulated AC supply were used.

In addition to that it would have to be supplying a phantom voltage to the DPU in the street pit via your copper lead in cable, there will be a media converter in the pit that is required to convert from the single mode fibre to the copper pair.


Level 2

Hi orbistat!


That does answer SOME of my questions... enough to know I'm likely to not need the home phone service.  Apparently it's VoIP and not an ACTUAL landline... and now that I think about it I kind of like the idea of having "naked" service anyway; the data line will be more reliable that way.  The main question is whether their VoIP service is SIP compatible or if there's something special about the combo units they provide that requires them to be used.  I'm also guessing the NCD has something to do with "authorizing" the VoIP service on site.


Regardless, I don't really need the VoIP service... I think I'll downgrade this to the basic plan but DEFINITELY keep the unlimited data at 100/40.  This also makes cabling easier; I did have a central *VDSL2* filter on the line but I'll be pulling that off and have just the one outlet.


I'm guessing I can still use a standard VDSL2 modem rather than the NCD... I'm hoping I didn't buy that Netgear DM200 for nothing... (as for the Linksys router, that WILL be my router one way or the other!)

The more I think about it, FTTC really does seem like a silly NBN implementation, especially considering the use of the NCD as opposed to the Fibre NTD.  Seems like it would be better to just run FTTP.  But then again anyone other than this government is already aware of that anyway...

Level 2

"A VDSL2 service can be modulated over a PSTN line although that won't be happening on your NBN FTTC sevice, you definitely won't be needing a VDSL/ADSL filter in your NBN installation."


THAT must be the main difference between FTTN and FTTC, which would explain why not all FTTN services can reach 100 Mbps.  I thought it was just the point at which the fibre interface was terminated.


"Firstly it's designed with a 3 pin mains cable which suggests it needs to be tied back to mains earth. Most likely incorporating lightning protection."


Makes sense now.  Although I would have designed it with a separate earthing method anyway... though since this IS a fixed line service I guess they figure it won't matter for 99+% of people.


"In addition to that it would have to be supplying a phantom voltage to the DPU in the street pit via your copper lead in cable..."


So they get the customer to feed them power instead of supplying it themselves.  Clever.


Still seems ridiculously unnecessary just to maintain an existing copper run, but then again what do I know...

Level 8

Hi again @alanpearsonau Just to recap, You won't be able to bypass or avoid using the terminating device because you can't supply power to the DPU on the street from a VDSL2 modem.

Even though it's supplying power from the customers premises it will be less than if you were powering an NTD in a FTTP install so it's a minor cost in the scheme of things.

Yes the phone will be totally VOIP with no analogue PSTN service. You will however be able to use pretty much any existing handset or cordless system by plugging into the RJ11 phone 1 port on the supplied VR1600v modem.


 You must use the supplied VR1600v for the bundled home phone VOIP service to work, the VR1600v runs a custom firmware so the VOIP server registers the modem's MAC/serial details to authenticate. You can't use a 3rd party modem and simply enter new SIP details.

This is a bundled service so it's up to you if you use it or not but I don't think you can opt just not to have it.


 That's not to say that any other VOIP service will not work however using your own modem/router.

Level 2

Hey @alanpearsonau 


How'd you go using the netgear dm200 with FTTC?


Did it work?