Australian Federal Police say they have cracked a network of online child predators, arresting 16 people across Australia this week.

The AFP started Operation Conqueror in January, investigating the sharing and distribution of photos of child abuse on the internet.

Officers carried out 36 search warrants in every state and territory as part of the operation, and arrested 16 people this week.

"The material that's been seized can only be classed as abhorrent and personally disgusting," AFP Cyber Crimes operations manager Glen McEwan said.

He says as technology evolves allowing criminals to change their techniques, so too do the tools investigators use to catch them.

Mr McEwan says sharing images of child abuse online is as serious as abuse itself.