What’s the difference between Fibre, VDSL, ADSL, Wireless 4G and Wireless 5G broadband?

When you sign up to 2degrees broadband services you may come across some unfamiliar words and phrases, so here’s a quick breakdown of what’s what in the world of high-speed internet.

What is broadband?

Broadband refers to the technology that makes it possible for large amounts of information to be sent super-speedily and simultaneously between computers or other electronic devices.

Broadband can be described as high-speed internet services delivered by various means including mobile networks, fibre-optic cables, VDSL and ADSL copper lines.

When you sign up to 2degrees broadband services, we’ll provide the best connection for you based on the newest technology available at your address. This may be an ADSL, VDSL, Wireless 4G or 5G, or Fibre connection.

Something to keep in the back of your mind is that most broadband connections will be affected by power cuts. So, people with monitored alarms will need to ensure they have a back-up power source.

What is Fibre?

Fibre is the fastest broadband technology in the market. It works by sending light through fibre-optic cables, capable of transferring information much faster than an old-school copper phone line.

To get connected to Fibre broadband, you’ll need to have two small boxes physically installed at your premises – one on the outside wall and one on an interior wall.

Fibre technology is perfect for large downloads, streaming video, or when you have multiple people or devices connected. Plus, if you want to go even faster, try our Ultimate Unlimited Plan.

Who is Fibre for?

If you’re online a lot and stream TV, movies and music or if you’re into gaming, this is the perfect internet connection for you. Fibre offers the best performance for multiple users in the home.

What is VDSL?

VDSL is not as fast as Fibre, but it uses your copper line more efficiently so you can get faster speeds than ADSL. This lets more users share one internet connection, lets you upload large photos or videos quicker, and gives you better HD video streaming capability than ADSL.

Who is VDSL for?

Ideal for those who want faster broadband but aren't eligible for Fibre. Great for streaming TV, movies and music. 

What is ADSL?

ADSL is the standard broadband service delivered over a traditional home line. It’s easy to connect to but is not very speedy with the national average for download speeds at around 10Mbps.

Who is ADSL for?

Ideally, we will move you to a newer connection type. However, if you have ADSL, it’s fine for when there’s just one or two people using the connection for general web browsing and checking emails.

What is Wireless 4G and 5G Broadband?

4G and 5G Broadband is delivered over a 4G or 5G mobile network. It doesn’t get sent via the old-fashioned copper cables in the ground, but rather, beamed straight to the modem via the 4G or 5G network infrastructure used for mobile phones.

Who is Wireless 4G and 5G Broadband for?

4G and 5G Wireless Broadband is suitable for customers who may not have access to Fibre, or want to move off their ADSL or VDSL connection. If your address has sufficient coverage and capacity, Wireless Broadband offers an easy-to-install broadband solution without the need to wait for a technician or a setup date.

4G Wireless Broadband is suitable for small to medium households who do basic online browsing or streaming, and don’t use more than 600GB of data per month.

5G Wireless Broadband is suitable for medium to large households who do video conferencing and calling, moderate gaming and streaming. Fair use policy applies.

Learn more about the differences between our broadband options


Fibre Broadband

Wireless 4G Broadband

Wireless 5G Broadband

How it works

Broadband is delivered through fibre-optic cables.

Broadband is delivered via the nearest 4G cell tower just like your mobile phone.

Broadband is delivered via the nearest 5G cell tower just like your mobile phone.

Who it’s suitable for

Medium or large households that have lots of devices connected and are online everyday streaming, gaming, learning, and working from home.

Small to medium households that have a few devices connected at the same time for basic browsing, checking emails and the occasional video streaming or video calling.

Medium or large households who have lots of devices connected and are online everyday streaming, gaming, learning and working from home.



300GB or Unlimited*



If Fibre is already installed at your place, we should have you up and running in 5-15 days.

If fibre needs to be installed, it can take around 4-5 weeks.

Easy set-up – once you get the modem, just plug it in, switch it on and connect your devices.

Easy set-up – once you get the modem, just plug it in, switch it on and connect your devices.

Landline Available

Yes – if you choose to add a landline to your broadband plan, you can bring your existing landline number with you. Alternatively, you can ask for a new landline number to be assigned to your 2degrees account.



*Fair Use Policy applies

Things you should know

  • Broadband not available everywhere. The broadband you can get will depend on your location. 5G Wireless Broadband only available in selected limited areas of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
  • Broadband speeds can be impacted by your modem’s performance, the number of devices connected to your modem, server location, your device settings, and your WiFi setup.
  • Wireless broadband speeds can be impacted by the distance between your modem and a cell site, the level of usage of a particular cell site by others, and network capability.

What is Rural Broadband?

Rural broadband is similar to Wireless 4G Broadband in that the signal is beamed in and you don’t have to wait for a technician to install fibre cables, and you use a similar modem. The difference is that with Rural Broadband we use a mobile network which we’ve collectively built with the other mobile network operators as part of a project called the Rural Connectivity Group (RCG),

The RCG has built and maintains new cell towers in rural areas and far-flung places across the country to connect internet and mobile black spots with 4G goodness.

Who is Rural Broadband for?

If you’re a household or business located in rural New Zealand and cannot get Fibre, Rural Broadband is specifically for you. Please note that Rural Broadband may not be available in all rural areas.

There may be instances where your home set-up isn’t appropriate for Rural Broadband. If you have a monitored medical or security alarm, you should read more about Rural Broadband here.

While we’re learning about all things internet, what is WiFi?

WiFi is not the internet itself, but it does broadcast the internet connection to the WiFi-capable devices you wish to connect. WiFi is radio transmission technology used to wirelessly connect to a router or other access point which in turn provides internet access. WiFi is the wireless connection to the device that connects to the internet.

Read more on how to connect to WiFi.

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