01 Apr 2019

Wi-Fi 6 – should you switch to the latest protocol?

In our technology-driven environment, it’s hard to imagine a world without Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi paved the way for the wireless internet connectivity that most of us appreciate we cannot live without at work, leisure or at home.

Crediting one single person with the invention of wi-fi is challenging, however, a good place to start is with the creation of the 802.11 standards (radio frequency) used for broadcasting a Wi-Fi signal. Vic Hayes is credited as the “father of Wi-Fi” because he chaired the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) committee that created the 802.11 standards for Wi-Fi in 1997. Before the public even heard of Wi-Fi, Hayes established the standards that would make Wi-Fi feasible. The 802.11 standard was established in 1997 and subsequently there have been many improvements which added to the 802.11 standards. These include 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and so on.  A recent decision was made to simplify the naming to Wi-Fi n, the current standard being Wi-Fi 5.

Wi-Fi 6 will be rolling out soon – what does this all mean for the end-user?

“Users will soon be able to see which version of Wi-Fi their device is compatible with, in addition to the Wi-Fi signal bar displaying the n to show which wireless network version they are connected to. That way, if two networks are available — one showing “4” and the other showing “5” — you’d be able to choose the newer, faster option. Wi-Fi 6 will be introduced during 2019 with the aim of being fully operational in 2020,” explains Greg Antic, a Network Engineer at Smart Technology Centre (STC).

One of the biggest challenges with Wi-Fi is competition with other devices that also use the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands that broadcast Wi-Fi signal – such as baby monitors and microwave ovens – Wi-Fi tends to get bogged down when you’re in a crowded place with a lot of Wi-Fi enabled devices, which affects Wi-Fi speeds adversely.

“The quality of a Fibre to the home/business connection is also largely dependent on the hardware such as the latest router with updated firmware. Often the fibre service is benchmarked incorrectly using the Wi-Fi speed as a barometer which is not a true reflection of the fibre line’s speed due to overcrowded Wi-Fi signal bands,” explains Greg.

“A welcome improvement in Wi-Fi 6 is its ability to handle client density more efficiently through its new channel-sharing capability, allowing Wi-Fi 6 to perform better in congested areas. Wi-Fi 6 will also deliver efficiency improvements with at least four times more throughput than the current Wi-Fi 5 can offer. In a nutshell the recent improvements involve some clever engineering to get more bandwidth out of the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz that your router already employs, meaning more capacity with less interference on the same channels, and faster data transfer speeds,” he says.

When should I switch to WiFi6?

The process of finalising the Wi-Fi 6 standards are nearing completion, at which point hardware developers will be able to finalise their designs that will support the new standard. This is set for completion in the next few months.

“It does not, however, mean that you now need to replace your existing Wi-Fi installations once Wi-Fi 6 is available – it really needs to be viewed from a necessity point of view. If you are expecting to do an upgrade soon or if you are investing in new equipment and you would like it to last for the next five or so years, then upgrading to Wi-Fi 6 is ideal. Likewise, if your business is already struggling with its Wi-Fi signal strength, then it may be a necessity to upgrade to Wi-Fi 6 as soon as it is available,” says Greg.

Wi-Fi 6 will be ‘backwards compatible’ with all the existing Wi-Fi gear, so if you buy any new gear that supports the new Wi-Fi 6 protocol, it will still work with the current setup—you just won’t be able to get the faster speeds until everything is Wi-Fi 6 enabled. You will also start seeing a “Wi-Fi 6 Certified” logo on devices that have gone through the Wi-Fi Alliance’s certification process.

“Bear in mind that it will take time to roll this out and for Wi-Fi 6 devices to become available. Smart Technology Centre has always been at the forefront of technology and we have made the decision to switch to the new Wi-Fi 6 standard as soon as the hardware is available, both for our business and for the solutions we supply to our clients,” concludes Greg.

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11 Feb 2019

8 Ways that fibre to your home will save you money, your sanity and add value to your life

8 Ways that fibre to your home will save you money, your sanity and add value to your life

Super connected world possible through fibre internetWe live in a super-connected world with software, services, education, entertainment, music, shopping and cloud connectivity all available at the click of a mouse.  With the power of superfast and reliable fibre connectivity rolling out in homes across the country, accessing these services now comes at a fraction of the eye-watering costs of mobile data, LTE and other wireless broadband connections.

“Having a reliable and fast fibre internet connection means you can now get serious about canning expensive entertainment subscription services and data contracts and get a lot more bang for your buck.  The faster speeds, minimal interruption and consistency of a fibre connection also means that you won’t be at the mercy of lousy weather and lightning strikes as is often the case with older technology.  The bottom line is that a fibre internet connection provides you with a lot more choice and quality of services, a lot faster, for a whole lot less of your hard-earned cash,” explains Linda Morris of Smart Technology Centre (STC), a leading internet service provider (ISP) and IT technology partner.

STC offers a list of eight compelling options to explore with your new superfast fibre internet connection, saving you a small fortune by opening a world of choice:

  • Video on Demand

Before fibre internet, chances are you were forking out a hefty sum for a pay TV subscription every month – and for your efforts you got unending programme repeats, inconvenient scheduling, aggravating ad breaks and nauseating self-promotional campaigns.  And let’s face it, public broadcasting isn’t exactly silver screen stuff.  With fibre internet, you can subscribe to multiple streaming services at an absolute fraction of the cost of a DSTV subscription – with access to series, movies, documentaries, music and exclusive content. Think Netflix, Showtime, Showmax and Classic Cinema Online to mention just a byteful – watch what you want, when you want to – and the choices and depth of content are mind-blowing.  For streaming newbies, the excitement is probably on par with how Charlie Bucket felt when he discovered the last golden ticket to let rip in Willie Wonka’s chocolate factory. As a last tempting titbit, your fibre line is impervious to weather, meaning that there are no annoying ‘signal’ interruptions as is the case with satellite TV, and you won’t wait weeks to have your ADSL line repaired either.

Streaming Videos and Music with fast fibre internet by smart technology centre

  • Music streaming

If your city was built on rock and roll, then you’ll love the many music streaming avenues that your fibre line provides – some at a minimal subscription and some at no cost at all.  These include Spotify, Joox, iTunes, Google Play Music and YouTube among many others.  Live stream or subscribe to a premium version to download and store your favourite tracks and artists to listen without an internet connection later – no more spending money on Neolithic CDs and DVDs.  Anyone been in a CD store lately?


  • Online Shopping

Online shopping allows you to buy anything from a car and cell phone, to jeans, knickers and groceries. No more queuing and spending time chasing specials and price comparisons – you can do it all online without leaving your couch, in mere minutes.  Many online shopping outlets offer free delivery over a certain spend and free returns if you’re not entirely blown away with your purchase.  You’ll also save a small packet by avoiding the impulse buying that happens when you walk down the store aisles.  Retailers such as Pick ‘n Pay and Woolworths allow you to draw up a handy online shopping list which you can revisit with every shop, and simply add to or deduct from for those regular monthly groceries – so you save time, money, petrol and trolley rage.

  • Safety and Security

With an uncapped fibre line, you can become the original big brother by connecting safety and security devices such as your alarm system and CCTV cameras to the web, allowing you to remotely access these feeds via a smart device or computer.  While this functionality is not new, it is a great deal more attainable with a fast, reliable and affordable fibre internet solution.


  • The Connected Home

Ever heard of a smart house that can have your cuppa jo ready and waiting, turn on the oven, draw the curtains and switch on the lights and aircon before you get home?  With a fibre internet connection you can step into the future and have all your appliances in your home synchronised to suit your lifestyle and comings and goings.


  • Online Education

E-learning brings flexibility, interaction and access to digital learning materials and the opportunity to participate in international courses and programmes. In a traditional bricks and mortar tertiary education environment, there are many hard costs beyond the tuition fees such as student accommodation, meals, transport, fuel, toll fees, vehicle insurance, textbooks and so on.  Thanks to online learning, much of these costs can be alleviated.  Most crucially, the internet holds the most extensive collection of academic material in the world.  Lectures are recorded and broadcast online, experts are online with documentaries and discussion forums, and for the most part, education today demands that students conduct much of their research online.  The underlying technology that makes all this possible is a high-speed, reliable internet connection that families can actually afford – a far cry from the situation just 5 or 10 years ago.

  • Reliable

Not only is your fibre line lightning fast, but it’s lightning proof as well, as optic fibre cable does not conduct a current – saving you the hassle of downtime and outages as a result of lightning strikes.  Another perk is that a fibre line contains no copper so is unlikely to be stolen – copper theft has become somewhat of a national sport in SA – but with fibre you get sustained, uninterrupted connectivity 24/7.


It’s hard to believe that it was just ten years ago that having internet access became as essential to life as electricity and water.  There’s very little you can do today without an email address and decent internet connection – so next time you’re tapping your fingers waiting for a webpage to load or your file transfer to happen, remember how far we have come since the days of the dial-up modem, and how much further you can go with reliable fibre to the home.

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29 Nov 2018

STC offers IPv6 to its client’s infrastructure and cloud services

STC offers IPv6 to its client’s infrastructure and cloud services

Smart Technology Centre (STC) is one of the first Internet Service Providers (ISPs) in South Africa to roll out a full production Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) connectivity to its client’s infrastructure and cloud services.

“In essence, an IP address provides a location system for computers and devices connected to the internet or on networks and then routes this traffic across the Internet. A basic analogy is to compare it to a number plate, which identifies where your computer is from and where it is going across the internet roadways and what information needs to be sent to and from it. We’ve invested heavily into innovation, best of breed equipment and training to enable us to deploy IPv6 well ahead of many other ISPs in the country. Currently, those networks that have been connected using IPv6 and dual-stacked with IPv4 are performing well, roughly 10% or a quarter of our current internet traffic to be exact,” explains Richard Morris, Managing Director of Smart Technology Centre.

IPv4, the defacto standard version that most electronic devices in South Africa still use to connect to the internet, has been around for many years and is essentially running out of IP addresses – the unique identifier that every device connected to the internet has. “Things have changed rapidly, and no-one anticipated the explosion in the number of devices connected to the internet – from cell phones, laptops, tablets, smart TVs, watches, routers, right down to smart fridges and home automation systems. The need for a robust communication protocol to manage the connectivity of these devices to the internet is paramount,” says Morris.

According to Statista, the number of internet-connected devices (Internet of Things) per person worldwide is expected to reach 6.58 devices per person by 2020, indicating a total of around 50 billion connected devices worldwide. That’s an incomprehensible number of unique IP address configurations. IPv6 provides a more advanced number and letter sequence, known as hexadecimal, that provides internet addressing into an almost infinite number that should in theory never run out. Switching, however, is not a simple process. In certain States in the US, IPv4 connectivity has already been completely phased out. In terms of IPv6 implementation, Africa and South Africa are far behind the curve, scoring just 0.63% – hardly registering a blip when you consider that the US is at 50% and Europe at 30% in terms of being IPv6 compliant.

“Major content providers such as Facebook and Google have deployed dual-stack networks for the sake of continuity, to make their networks scalable and future-proof, as well as to accommodate counties that are lagging behind on their IPv6 deployment,” explains Morris.

“Essentially what this means is that a device using IPv4 will eventually only be able to access old legacy content with their outdated IP address – and parallel systems need to be setup to manage both IPv4 and IPv6 connected devices. Consumers should be looking at their choice of ISP and migrate to smarter providers that have fully switched to IPv6, since devices still connected through IPv4 will likely become incompatible. While we don’t foresee IPv4 being phased out in the immediate future, its shelf-life expiry is approaching.

“At STC, we believe it is crucial not to adopt a wait-and-see approach and to be proactive and ahead of the curve in upping standards in the industry and ensuring seamless transitions for our clients that do not in any way disrupt their day-to-day operations, functionality, productivity and security,” concludes Morris.

IPv6 vs IPv4 – In a nutshell

Q: What is an internet protocol?
Every device that connects to the Internet, such as smartphones, notebooks, tablets, all require an identifier. This is a unique identifier, a known as an Internet Protocol (IP) address which is used to identify the particular hardware device, and connect to the Internet, thus allowing data to be transferred across the network. The two most common versions of IP in use today are Internet Protocol version 4(IPv4) and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6), both of which come from finite pools of numbers. IPv4 uses 32 bits for its Internet addresses – in a nutshell, that means it can support 232IP addresses in total — around 4.29 billion. It may have sounded like a lot a few years ago, but the connected age has resulted in almost all of these being used up.

Q: What is IPv6?
A: IPv6 is the sixth revision to the Internet Protocol and the successor to IPv4. For IPv4, this pool is The IPv6 address space is 128-bits (2128) in size, containing 340,282,366,920,938,463,463,374,607,431,768,211,456 IPv6 addresses. Enough to keep the internet operational for many, many lifetimes…well that’s at least what we thought about IPv4.

Q: When do we start panicking?
A: Don’t panic just yet. Although the current addresses have all been allocated, many of them are still unused and are available to be assigned. But they are an increasingly scarce resource and will create a problem for the web – and you, your work productivity and everything else that goes with it – in the next few years. Although the depletion of IPv4 addresses was predicted years ago, the switch has been painfully slow and only a fraction of the web has started to switch – notably, South Africa is very, very far behind the curve.

Q: Why the hesitation to switch on such a critical issue?
A: Much of this has to do with the fact that running both IPv4 and IPv6 requires special skill, gateways and parallel networks to transmit data between the two. To make the switch, software and routers need to be upgraded to support a more advanced network – and this requires time, money and serious skills. Nobody’s sure how much the transition will cost or how long it will take, but that’s why it’s crucial that we start the switch early, develop the necessary skills, training and support needed to ensure that the internet and our critical networks can operate as normal – the alternatives are too dire to contemplate. Procrastination will rob us of our most mission-critical asset if we don’t get this right.

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13 Jul 2018

Smart Technology Centre appointed technology partner to KidZania

Smart Technology Centre has been appointed the Preferred Technology Partner for South Africa’s flagship KidZania franchise launching in Johannesburg.

Smart Technology Centre (STC), an enterprise managed service provider will be responsible for the turnkey planning, procurement, implementation and support of KidZania’s technology infrastructure including networking, connectivity, world-class security solutions, communications and IT support.  The deal is a significant multi-million Rand win for the local IT company.

Alpha Investment Group, a 100% black-owned investment holding company, has invested over R400 million to bring KidZania to South Africa, with the flagship facility opening at Fourways Mall. The 8000sqm replica of an urban commercial eco-system complete with streets, buildings, a transport system and a fully-functioning economy uses realistic role-play to teach children about different careers, the inner-workings of a city and the concept of managing money.

Kidzania Bangkok

We combine the virtual world and entertainment together. To the children Get real experience. To use in the future.

“We are delighted to be working with Alpha Investment Group to bring a premium global brand such as KidZania to life for South African children. We believe STC is a good fit for the KidZania brand due to the breadth of our service offering, our entrepreneurial focus on innovation and consistently delivering above and beyond client expectations. The appointment is affirmation of our ability to deliver converged business solutions with speed, agility, within budget and scope and according to rigorous Service Level Agreements (SLA). Most crucially, we recognise the importance of managed services and the business impact of downtime in a digital landscape. We have the capabilities to give our customers innovative, profitable and sustainable services both today, and in the future,” explains Linda Morris, IT Manager at STC and project lead on KidZania.

STC will manage KidZania’s technology platforms and processes against the specifications defined by KidZania’s Franchisor in Mexico, ensuring that the latest standards are implemented and maintained within an onerous security environment. For example, KidZania’s state-of-the-art security system ensures a safe and fun experience for children navigating the city/facility with or without their parents.  Every child and parent receive matching security-bracelets, providing the location of child and parent within mere meters of each one’s location.

Smart Technology Centre (Pty) Ltd is a Managed Service Provider offering fully converged communication solutions for customers in the enterprise, SMB and consumer markets within South Africa.

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16 May 2017

Cisco Success Story

Endless opportunities with a next-generation network.  DHL lays the foundation for future growth in southern Africa with a high-speed, reliable convergence network in collaboration with Smart Technology Centre (Pty) Ltd .

View Case Study

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16 May 2017
18 Jul 2015
14 Nov 2014
01 Nov 2014

CIO thought piece

As new and transformative technologies continue to hit the market at an ever-increasing pace, CIOs are faced with a substantial opportunity. No longer purely the domain of the IT group, technologies such as cloud computing have caught the attention of decision makers across the business.

HP Cloud Computing for CIOs_4AA3-8450ENW

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30 Oct 2014

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