Naked DSL: Everything you need to know

07 December 2016

The provocatively named Naked DSL is a form of ADSL2+ broadband, but without the telephone service. As such, Naked DSL subscribers don't pay line rental. As with ADSL2+, internet is delivered over the same copper-wiring one would normally use for a home phone.

How fast is Naked DSL?

Naked DSL's maximum theoretical speeds are 24Mbps for download, and 1Mbps for upload. Your actual internet speeds will be determined by how far your home is from your local exchange (the building where your suburb is connected to the wider internet) and the state of the copper-wiring running down your street.

As a rule of thumb, you can live as far as 1km from your local exchange before you start to notice speed degradation. If you live further than 3km from your exchange, you'll quite possibly get speeds under 10Mbps.

If you want to see how far your house is from your local exchange, take a look at TPG's coverage map.

The number of other services in your area and electrical interference from outside sources can also affect your Naked DSL internet speeds.

Where is Naked DSL available?

Naked DSL is typically only available in metropolitan areas. Not all internet service providers offer Naked DSL, regardless of your location. Neither Telstra or Optus sell Naked DSL products, for example.

What equipment do I need for a Naked DSL internet connection?

If you sign up for a Naked DSL internet connection, you'll use your phone line and ADSL2+ modem router to connect to the internet. If you take up your connection on a 24-month contract, your provider will almost certainly include a compatible modem with your plan.

You'll use a RJ11 phone cable to connect your modem to the phone socket. Almost every single modem router includes one of these in the box. ADSL2+ modem routers also require a dedicated power source, so you'll need a spare electrical outlet.

Can I still make phone calls?

Some internet providers bundle in a Voice Over IP (VoIP) service with Naked DSL connections. This lets you make and receive phone calls over the internet, using a standard local number. Pricing will vary from provider to provider and plan to pan, but in general, VoIP is cheaper than a regular phone call.

To use VoIP, you'll typically plug a handset into a VoIP compatible modem router. If your provider offers a VoIP service, they will typically give you a VoIP-ready modem when you sign up for a 24-month contract.

How is Naked DSL different to ADSL2+?

Naked DSL uses the same core technologies as ADSL2+, but without a telephone service. This means you don't need to pay line rental as a separate charge. While this can save you money, Naked DSL plans - in general - are a little more expensive than ADSL2+ plans, as your provider is still paying line rental for your connection.

How is Naked DSL different to NBN?

Australia's National Broadband Network is designed to ultimately replace Naked DSL internet connections. It will be faster, more reliable, and cost about the same for a basic connection.

The same copper-wiring used for Naked DSL will still be used in some parts of the National Broadband Network, as part of the Fibre-to-the-Node technology type. In other cases, such as with Fibre-to-the-Premise, copper will be replaced entirely and ultimately decommissioned.

Red phone in trash image from ShutterStock.

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