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Wednesday 30 Aug 2023 | 4 min read

What does VoIP, VDSL, or ISP mean? A guide to decoding telco industry ​acronyms

A white router is sitting on a desk while a man uses a tablet in the background

Have you ever looked at internet speed plans or the product packaging for a modem or router and just gotten lost in a sea of jargon? The tech and telecommunications industry in general is guilty of having so many confusing acronyms and abbreviations, sometimes it’s hard to understand what you’re actually signing up for!  

That’s where we come in. In this blog post, you will learn about the different acronyms in the telecommunications industry and what they mean.  In this post, we will list and explain some of the most commonly thrown around acronyms surrounding nbn©️, OptiComm, mobiles, and fixed phone services. 

Use the links below to jump to any specific term. Let’s dive in!  


‘CPE’ or Customer Premises Equipment is a distinct and formal term to refer to hardware owned by a customer, such as a modem, router, or switch.  

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DSL stands for Digital Subscriber Line, which is a way of using the existing telephone lines to send and receive digital data via your internet connection. If you’re on Fibre to the Node, you may have noticed a plug on your modem labelled ‘DSL’ where you connect the phone cable to a wall point.  

This technology eventually evolved into ‘ADSL’ – Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line – which can deliver faster download and upload speeds than standard DSL.  

‘VDSL’ is the acronym for the latest type of DSL, Very high-speed Digital Subscriber Line (because apparently just ‘High-speed’ wasn’t enough!). To connect Fibre to the Node customers to the internet, NBN uses VDSL2 technology, which is the latest version of VDSL and comes with further improvements to the speeds it can deliver; which is typically up to 100Mbps. 

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‘EU’ is an abbreviation for End User, which is often used by technicians and support staff when writing notes or communicating information in shorthand. 

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IP, IPv4 and IPv6 

Internet Protocol (IP) is the set of rules that govern how devices talk with each other over the internet, however the term ‘IP’ is used most as an informal shorthand for ‘IP address’. There are two types of IP address: IPv4 and IPv6:  

  • ‘IPv4’ is the acronym for Internet Protocol version 4, which is the type of IP address most of us use and may already be familiar with. IPv4 addresses are formatted as a sequence of numbers separated by periods (such as   

  • ‘IPv6’ is the acronym for Internet Protocol version 6. IPv6 is the successor to the current standard of IPv4, and the addresses are more complex – divided into 8 groups of letters and (or) numbers (such as 2606:4700:10::6814:58f7). 

In most situations, “what is your IP?” means “what is your IPv4 address?” – which doesn’t roll off the tongue as easily.  

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‘ISP’ vs ‘RSP’ 

‘ISP’ is short for Internet Service Provider. That’s us! This abbreviation is commonly used among customers, internet users, and their providers.  

Retail Service Provider (RSP) is a term mostly used in the telco industry to refer to the retail providers providing internet services on the NBN. 

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LAN and WAN 

‘LAN’ stands for Local Area Network, which is used to describe an internal network of computers, modems or routers, phones, and other devices connected to each other. In a household, the LAN will consist of all devices connected to your router by cable or Wifi. 

On the other hand, ‘WAN’ means Wide Area Network. As the name implies, it refers to a larger network covering a wider area. You’ll likely see a WAN port on your modem or router, which is used to connect to the NBN box if your property has one. In this context, the WAN is the network managed by Aussie Broadband to provide NBN and OptiComm internet to our customers. 

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‘Mbps’ vs ‘MBps’ 

When measuring speeds, the grammar used depends on the exact type of measurement; megabits (Mb) and megabytes (MB). A megabit is equal to 1 million bits, and a megabyte is 8 million bits. 

  • Mbps stands for Megabits per second – this is used to describe the top speeds on each of our broadband plans. Mbps is also used as the default measurement when running a speed test. Other correct ways to write this are ‘Mb/s’ or ‘Mbit/s’. 

  • MBps is the abbreviation for Megabytes per second. Megabytes are typically used when measuring data in the context of storage – for example, when you’re copying some large files on your computer the estimated time to complete is based on the MBps speed your hard drive can perform at.  

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NTD and NCD 

A ‘NTD’ is a Network Termination Device, which is a device supplied by NBN or OptiComm to connect your premises to the network for your internet provider. The NTD has a different appearance and placement in the building depending on what type of connection you have between Fibre to the Premises (FTTP), Fixed Wireless, or Hybrid Fibre Coaxial (HFC).  

If you have a Fibre to the Curb connection, the NBN device you use to connect is known as a Network Connection Device (NCD). This device acts as a modem that connects your property to the NBN network via your internet provider.  

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A Point of Interconnect (POI) is a crucial link of the NBN network that connects the customer to the internet provider, and then connects the internet provider to the internet provided by the NBN. There are over 100 POIs on the NBN network across Australia, and each address is linked to the nearest one.  

A graphic of the way that the NBN network communicates with the Aussie Broadband network. It shows that from the home, the NBN network is connected to a Point of Interconnection and then to the Aussie network and their data centre.

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Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the technology we now use that has replaced the traditional phone line since the NBN has rolled out. Home phone services bundled with a broadband plan now use VoIP, which allows voice and video calls to be made over the internet.  

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Are there any more acronyms, abbreviations, or jargon we missed that you don’t understand? We’d love to hear about it! Connect with us on Instagram or Facebook to let us know! 

Written by

Sarah Edwards Headshot

Sarah Edwards

Communications Officer

Sarah is a Communications Officer at Aussie Broadband with 10 years of various experiences in the tech sector under their belt. Responsible for the continuous improvement of Aussie's Help Centre, Sarah also authors editorial blog posts, and...

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