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FTTH comes to Sunninghill

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Residents of Sunninghill in Johannesburg have selected Metrofibre Networx as the preferred fibre supplier for the area.

Working with the local Sunninghill ratepayers association, Metrofibre was selected as the area’s preferred FTTH supplier, enabling residents access to high-speed fibre and data services right to the home. The first estate in Sunninghill went live in June 2015, subsequently a further six have been completed, with 14 more to follow suit, and further construction happening in excess of 10 additional estates.

All in all, the over 6000 residential properties within the area will all be able to tap into the Metrofibre fibre network by the middle of 2016. As a consequence of the agreement reached with Sunninghill, the company has also extended network access to include Barbeque Downs.

“Until recently high-speed data has been an expensive luxury only afforded to a select few who could shoulder the costs of uncapped DSL and LTE services, but fibre changes all of this,” states Jacques de Villiers  at Metrofibre Networx. “With fibre consumers and businesses can now ensure that their browsing is never slowed down, making services such as live streaming television, music and even gaming a qualified option for South African customers. It is fast and cost effective – truly levelling the Internet connectivity playing fields for local businesses and consumers.”

Working hand in glove with the Sunninghill Ratepayers Association, Metrofibre will also be providing fibre access for the security cameras in Sunninghill , at no cost to the residents.

“After extensive research into the various FTTH suppliers in a process that extended almost a year, we at the Sunninghill Community Ratepayers Association elected to appoint Metrofibre Networx as our preferred supplier of fibre to homes and businesses within the Sunninghill area,” states Linda Gildenhuys, chairman of the Sunninghill Ratepayers Association.

Of the reasons initially listed by the selection team as to why they selected Metrofibre as their partner included the fact that when dealing with the company they were provided with a single point of contact to address questions and assist with service delivery. The company’s ability to deliver symmetrical broadband speeds, as well as uncapped and unshaped Internet, and the fact that its network had stood the test of independent user testing and came out with flying colours, also ranked highly on the selection criteria.

Another attractive offering to customers who elect to make use of Metrofibre for their fibre needs in the area is that the company does not hold the association to any contract terms. In fact, once the network is installed, individual customers can freely contact Metrofibre of their own accord at any stage.

The project encompasses two forms of fibre, namely trenched fibre, which is fibre that is laid underground, and aerial fibre for already established and built up areas where trenching could pose a problem. To this end the company recently ran a highly successful aerial project in the Glenferness area, proving the robustness and accessibility of its aerial offering.

According to de Villiers, this ensures that customers are afforded the option to select what they prefer with as little disruption to the existing environment as possible.

Established in 2010, Metrofibre owns and manages South Africa’s first globally compliant Carrier Ethernet 2.0 (CE 2.0) open access fibre network and connects in excess of 60 cloud, application, voice and Internet service providers with their customers. Its network has been built in line with the highest global standards, making use of only superior networking products, providing customers with a carrier class open access fibre network that offers ultra-high speed and low latency connections.

New estates and new businesses in the area are urged to contact Metrofibre , while they are in the development phase of the project should they wish to elect to partner with the company on their fibre needs.

“The quality of our network speaks for itself. Our customers who are residents in these areas, and sign up for access to the Metrofibre network, can now leverage key benefits such as symmetrical broadband speeds as well as real open access where customers can either make use of Metrofibre or a service provider of their choice to access the network. Fibre is, and will, continue to change how businesses and consumers the world over connect with each other,” ends de Villiers.

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Money talks and electronic gaming evolves

Computer gaming has evolved dramatically in the last two years, as it follows the money, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK in the second of a two-part series.

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The clue that gaming has become big business in South Africa was delivered by a non-gaming brand. When Comic Con, an American popular culture convention that has become a mecca for comics enthusiasts, was hosted in South Arica for the first time last month, it used gaming as the major drawcard. More than 45 000 people attended.

The event and its attendance was expected to be a major dampener for the annual rAge gaming expo, which took place just weeks later. Instead, rAge saw only a marginal fall in visitor numbers. No less than 34 000 people descended on the Ticketpro Dome for the chaos of cosplay, LAN gaming, virtual reality, board gaming and new video games. 

It proved not only that there was room for more than one major gaming event, but also that a massive market exists for the sector in South Africa. And with a large market, one also found numerous gaming niches that either emerged afresh or will keep going over the years. One of these, LAN (for Local Area Network) gaming, which sees hordes of players camping out at the venue for three days to play each other on elaborate computer rigs, was back as strong as ever at rAge.

MWeb provided an 8Gbps line to the expo, to connect all these gamers, and recorded 120TB in downloads and 15Tb in uploads – a total that would have used up the entire country’s bandwidth a few years ago.

“LANs are supposed to be a thing of the past, yet we buck the trend each year,” says Michael James, senior project manager and owner of rAge. “It is more of a spectacle than a simple LAN, so I can understand.”

New phenomena, often associated with the flavour of the moment, also emerge every year.

“Fortnite is a good example this year of how we evolve,” says James. “It’s a crazy huge phenomenon and nobody was servicing the demand from a tournament point of view. So rAge and Xbox created a casual LAN tournament that anyone could enter and win a prize. I think the top 10 people got something each round.”

Read on to see how esports is starting to make an impact in gaming.

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Blockchain unpacked

Blockchain is generally associated with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, but these are just the tip of the iceberg, says ESET Southern Africa.

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This technology was originally conceived in 1991, when Stuart Haber and W. Scott Stornetta described their first work on a chain of cryptographically secured blocks, but only gained notoriety in 2008, when it became popular with the arrival of Bitcoin. It is currently gaining demand in other commercial applications and its annual growth is expected to reach 51% by 2022 in numerous markets, such as those of financial institutions and the Internet of Things (IoT), according to MarketWatch.

What is blockchain?

A blockchain is a unique, consensual record that is distributed over multiple network nodes. In the case of cryptocurrencies, think of it as the accounting ledger where each transaction is recorded.

A blockchain transaction is complex and can be difficult to understand if you delve into the inner details of how it works, but the basic idea is simple to follow.

Each block stores:

–           A number of valid records or transactions.
–           Information referring to that block.
–           A link to the previous block and next block through the hash of each block—a unique code that can be thought of as the block’s fingerprint.

Accordingly, each block has a specific and immovable place within the chain, since each block contains information from the hash of the previous block. The entire chain is stored in each network node that makes up the blockchain, so an exact copy of the chain is stored in all network participants.

As new records are created, they are first verified and validated by the network nodes and then added to a new block that is linked to the chain.

How is blockchain so secure?

Being a distributed technology in which each network node stores an exact copy of the chain, the availability of the information is guaranteed at all times. So if an attacker wanted to cause a denial-of-service attack, they would have to annul all network nodes since it only takes one node to be operative for the information to be available.

Besides that, since each record is consensual, and all nodes contain the same information, it is almost impossible to alter it, ensuring its integrity. If an attacker wanted to modify the information in a blockchain, they would have to modify the entire chain in at least 51% of the nodes.

In blockchain, data is distributed across all network nodes. With no central node, all participate equally, storing, and validating all information. It is a very powerful tool for transmitting and storing information in a reliable way; a decentralised model in which the information belongs to us, since we do not need a company to provide the service.

What else can blockchain be used for?

Essentially, blockchain can be used to store any type of information that must be kept intact and remain available in a secure, decentralised and cheaper way than through intermediaries. Moreover, since the information stored is encrypted, its confidentiality can be guaranteed, as only those who have the encryption key can access it.

Use of blockchain in healthcare

Health records could be consolidated and stored in blockchain, for instance. This would mean that the medical history of each patient would be safe and, at the same time, available to each doctor authorised, regardless of the health centre where the patient was treated. Even the pharmaceutical industry could use this technology to verify medicines and prevent counterfeiting.

Use of blockchain for documents

Blockchain would also be very useful for managing digital assets and documentation. Up to now, the problem with digital is that everything is easy to copy, but Blockchain allows you to record purchases, deeds, documents, or any other type of online asset without them being falsified.

Other blockchain uses

This technology could also revolutionise the Internet of Things  (IoT) market where the challenge lies in the millions of devices connected to the internet that must be managed by the supplier companies. In a few years’ time, the centralised model won’t be able to support so many devices, not to mention the fact that many of these are not secure enough. With blockchain, devices can communicate through the network directly, safely, and reliably with no need for intermediaries.

Blockchain allows you to verify, validate, track, and store all types of information, from digital certificates, democratic voting systems, logistics and messaging services, to intelligent contracts and, of course, money and financial transactions.

Without doubt, blockchain has turned the immutable and decentralized layer the internet has always dreamed about into a reality. This technology takes reliance out of the equation and replaces it with mathematical fact.

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