Skyrove is moving!

Attention Skyrovers, we have some exctiting news to share!
Skyrove is moving offices to Mowbray as of Monday, 19th November 2012!

Find us at: Suite 23b Unit16, The Waverley Business Park, Wyecroft Road, Mowbray 7705

Our Postal Adress remains the same: PO BOX 14031, Mowbray, Cape Town, 7705.

Skyrove tips on hotspot Data Usage.

 

There are various factors that one needs to take into consideration, when looking at data usage. If one was to take Apple products for example. If the user’s Apple device is i-Cloud enabled and there have been various changes made to the off-line content, it will, by default, update all of this to the i-Cloud storage facility. This is the same with PC users, running Dropbox with default sync settings.

 

Also take into consideration that most Anti-Virus programs will also update themselves if they detect an active internet connection. (Most PC users have their Windows Update setting under control, but various other applications like Adobe etc. might still download content even before it prompts the user to download the full update package).

 

Local email client users will also typically use more data when reading mail (Using an application such as Microsoft Outlook, Outlook Express or Mozilla Thunderbird), as with POP ( “Post Office Protocol” – a type of mail service that determines how email is received and managed) the mail gets downloaded before it gets viewed. Exchange and IMAP (Also, both of these determine how mail is received and managed) will update folder changes etc. when it starts to Synchronise on connection. Whereas, when using your web browser to access mail, you view the content on the server, and minimal data transferring takes place.

 

Best would be to make sure that most of your applications, Anti-Virus etc. are all up to date as far as possible before using a Pre-Paid public Hot Spot. Also, if possible, browse your email using your browser or only download important headers and then select what mail you would like to download to read. Remember with all the active and live content used in email marketing and signatures these days, some emails might be the cause of some frustrating bandwidth usage.

 

Regards,

Skyrove Technical Team

Technology explained: Capped vs Uncapped

Capped vs Uncapped

When it comes to Capped vs Uncapped Internet, here’s a breakdown of the pros and cons, to help you decide which to choose:

Let’s start with Shaping. This is the technology used to determine what type of data is flowing through your modem, and this is used to shape your data stream to a slower or faster stream for special purposes. Remember “internet” is just a smart word for all the computers in the world connected to each other, with whatever means necessary, and all sharing the SAME pipeline, so shaping is needed for the ones misusing the lines for downloading huge files like movies.

 

Uncapped Internet
This type is the lowest priority on the network, meaning that if 10 guys are standing in a queue for bread, you will be the last one (no.10), and have to wait for everyone to finish before you can get your bread. This is exactly the same for using the internet. Your data (webpage/email/ftp) request will have to wait until everyone has finished with their requests at the same time you did yours.

- The upside of this is that you pay a very small monthly instalment and can theoretically download at least 118GB per month on the slowest line (384kbps).

- This is NOT to be used for mission-critical business applications, and is better suited to home or leisure use.

- The average cost per UnCapped line is about R149.00* per month.

 

Capped Internet
This type is the second fastest priority on the network and share its priority with Cell phone internet users seeing as there are no uncapped options available for cell phone users. Again the above example applies, but this time, you will jump from number 10 to 6 in the queue, then to number 3 and so on, bettering your time every time.

- The downside of this is that you pay a much more expensive rate per GB, and have only 2 optiosn to choose from: Prepaid, which carries the data over if not used in the same month, and is more expensive, and Capped, where you lose the data that you don’t use at the end of the month, which is a bit cheaper.

- This can be used for mission-critical business applications and home users, but NOT for heavy downloaders.

- The average cost per GB is about R59.00*

 

LeasedLine/Diginet Internet
This type is the fastest on the internet, and if you request data, ALL other users are bypassed and you get moved to the front of the queue.

- The downside is that this is the most expensive internet in the world, but the upside of it is that you will be uncapped in total, with no limitations whatsoever.

- This is usually used only for mission-critical corporations, and NOT suitable for anyone else.

- You can theoretically download about 1.3TB per month on a 512kbps line.

 

* Prices are based on ADSL line packages, and not on WISP packages.

Meraki Wireless networks that simply work.

Meraki is Skyrove’s Gold Partner in South Africa. A Meraki Wi-Fi hotspot in your location enables your customers and guests to get online quickly and easily using their laptops and smartphones.

Meraki’s products content the competitive key advantages listed below:

  • Control applications, users and devices
  • Rapid deployment with self-provisioning, self-optimizing hardware
  • Built-in multi-site management
  • Automatic monitoring and alerts
  • Future proof and always up to date, with seamless over-the-web firmware updates and new features delivered quaterly.

Meraki provides super efficient and 100% Cloud Managed products.

What does Cloud Networking mean?

Cloud Networking provides centralized mangement, visibility and control without the cost and complexity of controller appliances or overlay mangement software.

Meraki’s products are built from the ground up for cloud management, and come out of the box with centralized management, layer 7 device and application visibility, real time web-based diagnostics, monitoring, reporting, and much more. Meraki deploys quickly and easily, without training or proprietary command line interfaces.

Meraki’s founders invented Cloud Networking while working as graduate students at M.I.T. The company now has a complete line of cloud networking products that power over 20,000 customer networks, including massive global deployments with tens of thousands of devices.

How does it work?

  1. First, reliable and high-performance Meraki wireless APs switches, and security appliances are deployed in your campus or remote branches
  2. Then, Meraki devices automatically connect to Meraki’s cloud over SSL, register with your network, and download their configuration
  3. After that, you have complete visibility and control over your entire network over the web. You can configure thousands of devices, run diagnostics, or view reports with a few clicks.
  4. Finally, tasks such as RF optimization and VPN configuration are automated by the cloud, while firmware updates and application signatures are seamlessly deployed over the web.

Find any further information you may look for on www.skyrove.com and www.meraki.com

Skyrove is sponsoring the Wi-Fi for the upcoming “Joomla!day” Cape Town event

It will be held at The Pavillion Conference Centre in the V&A Waterfront, which will take place on the 17th and 18th of August 2012.

What is Joomla! and why attend?

It’s the most anticipated day in the year for developers and users of the Global Award Winning Open Source Content Management System of all time, Joomla!

The Joomla! Community is as important as the software that we use. This two day event will be two simultaneous tracks of talks taking place engaging anyone interested in Joomla!, from developers to designers and even the novice end user.

Guest speakers from Europe, USA and South Africa will be flying in to share their expertise and join in the fun!

Joomla ! Team has scheduled sessions with expert, and well-respected speakers/developers/leaders in the Joomla! Community , who will bring you up to speed on the new CMS development cycle , as well as the new possibilities that the Joomla Platform Project provides.

List of the 2012 presentations

·       Chimoora – Joomla! websites on mobile devices

·       CuppaWiFi.com – a CCK case study

·       Joomla 3.0 UX

·       Running an Online Community with Joomla!

·       Streamlining Joomla Template Deployment and Updates across multiple installations

·       The Power of LinkedIn for Joomla users & developers

·       Upgrading Joomlagov.info to Joomla 2.5 with responsive design

You want to get involved? Submit Proposal.

This event gives YOU, the participant, the chance to speak or present about topics, which are Joomla related. Joomla calls for proposals, for talks, which can range from Case studies, Tutorials, Discussions and more…

This is a chance for the participant, the Joomla user, and developer or business owner to share its experiences with the Community. The more proposals there are more exciting the event will be.

Skyrove, sponsor partner of conferences and events.

If you’re looking for fast and reliable Wi-Fi for your event, Skyrove’s Event Wi-Fi is what you need.
Are you organizing a conference, training day, media tent, sports event, rock concert or any other event where you will need Internet access?
Skyrove’s Event Wi-Fi provides high-speed wireless Internet for your delegates – so they can email, connect, network and report on your event.

  • Premium fast-speed Wi-Fi for hundreds of simultaneous connections
  • On-site Skyrove technicians who set up, manage and support your Wi-Fi connection throughout your event
  • Optional add-on capacity for features such as Twitter fountains, two-way video conferencing, live streaming, live surveys and more
  • Add value to your sponsors through splash page branding in delegate browsers

You can get all this from just R100 (excl VAT) per person per day!*

* Minimum R15000 total charge or 150 people

Registrations are open!

Contact information;

When? 17-18 August 2012
Where? The Pavilion, Waterfront, Cape Town

Website: joomladay.org.za
Twitter: @sajoomladay

5 Apps That Hog Bandwidth on Your Network

Does your wireless connection ever feel slow and sluggish? Below are five popular applications that can consume quite a bit of bandwidth. Don’t let them bog down your network!

  • Skype and VoIP / video conferencing
  • Dropbox and online backup
  • Facebook
  • YouTube
  • Pandora

Using Meraki’s built-in application visibility makes it easy to see which apps consume the most bandwidth. A look over the past month at the application categories running on Meraki’s network reveals the top three – VoIP and video conferencing, online backup, and email – and the applications that consume the most bandwidth of each of those categories. Figure 1 shows the summary.

Application traffic by category

Figure 1: Application traffic by category

Checking the 5 apps listed above reveals how much bandwidth each uses on the wireless network:

  • Skype and VoIP / video conferencing – 14%
  • Dropbox and online backup – 11%
  • Facebook – 0.8% (all social web adds up to 1.1%)
  • YouTube – 3.0% (all online video adds up to 8.9%)
  • Pandora 2.5% (music apps add up to 6.7%)

A deeper dive into the online backup category shows that Dropbox is the most popular online backup application, and within that, the dashboard shows the top client devices that contribute to Dropbox usage. This was eye opening – my laptop is #2 on the list in figure 2, consuming just over 32% of all the wireless network’s Dropbox usage.

 

Figure 2: Application Details - Dropbox

Figure 2: Application details – Dropbox

Another application consuming large amounts of bandwidth is Windows file sharing. Like many organizations, Meraki uses some file servers that store and allow sharing of files. Note here that the client consuming the most Windows file sharing bandwidth uses 38% of all the Windows file sharing activity.

What should be done if these categories are out of line with expectations or business needs? The answer is simple – use application traffic shaping to throttle undesired applications by enforcing traffic policies at the network edge (at the AP). For example, figure 4 below shows how one rule can govern peer-to-peer and online backup applications, and another rule lets VoIP and video conferencing flow freely across the wireless network.

Traffic Shaping Rules

Figure 3: Traffic shaping rules

Have you looked at your wireless network recently to see what applications are using the most bandwidth? We’d love it if you share with us a little about the most popular applications on your network.

(Original Post at Meraki Blog. For more info about Meraki in South Africa, see www.skyrove.com/meraki)

Skyrove and Skype offer free Wi-Fi across South Africa over holiday period

Holidaymakers will be able to take advantage of free Wi-Fi access at over 650
Skyrove hotspots across South Africa this December as part of a deepening
relationship between the company and Skype.

National Wi-Fi hotspot provider, Skyrove, formalised a relationship with Skype,
a communications software company, in October this year which allows Skyrove
hotspot users to buy Internet access using their Skype account and Skype Credit.

The ten-day promotion of Skype Access will run from 0000 SAST on December
22nd, 2010 to 23:59 SAST on January 1st, 2011.

“We are delighted that we are able to introduce our Wi-Fi access to the public
during this period. Both consumers based in South Africa and those visiting will
be able to make use of the offer to reach out to their families around the world.
This is also a time when many people are travelling and rely on remote access to
keep tabs on work,” explains Henk Kleynhans, MD of Skyrove.

The only requirement is that users have the latest version of Skype on their
machines, which will automatically prompt users to connect to the Skyrove
network via Skype Access.

The ten-day free offer will allow users to experience the regular Skype Access
feature which allows them to make use of their Skype Credit to access Wi-Fi
at Skyrove hotspots around the country. This is particularly useful for people
who make use of Skype on a regular basis – including South Africa’s growing
international visitors.

The deal with Skyrove expands the footprint of Skype Access, which can be found
in over 200,000 hotspots around the globe, making it simple and cost effective to
make Skype voice and video calls, surf the web or any other online activities.

For Skyrove, the offer means fast, simple and affordable access to a greater
number of users.

For more details on where they can find Skyrove hotspots, consumers can visit
www.skyrove.com and click on the Find a Hotspot button at the top of the page.

70% of mobile data in Korea is delivered over Wi-Fi

He says that only 10% of data transfer is through 3G networks, 70% coming through wi-fi – which is not that surprising when you consider the number of hotspots in South Korea’s urban areas.

from this BBC article

History of the Internet – Video

Great video about the history of the internet. Essential viewing for anyone working in the tech/media space.

 

History of the Internet from Melih Bilgil on Vimeo.

10 Dos and Don’ts of Conference and Event Wi-Fi

Skyrove recently provided Wi-Fi access at G South Africa, Google’s first big conference in Cape Town.

Google’s requirement was broadband speed internet access for 500 delegates across 2 conference rooms. The first day of the conference was aimed at software developers and CS students (Android, AppEngine, Maps, GWT etc) while Day 2 was for Business & Marketing folks.

Besides for watching our network traffic and connections closely, all of our technicians were also monitoring, and replying to, Twitter for comments about the Wi-Fi (by searching Twitter for “#gsouthafrica WiFi”)

There were 48 positive tweets & retweets about the Wi-Fi and 8 negative ones by 3 different people. Not a great ratio, but then you’d find that, like working sound and lighting, people expect Wi-Fi to “just work” and are seldom amazed by it.

So we were glad to see some really positive ones:

Not everything was plain sailing though, and on the first day we were scurrying around moving load from one backhaul connection to another. After fixing some backhaul problems, on Day 2 we had 550 connected devices, with data usage double what it was on Day 1 and not a single negative tweet.

Conference & Event Wi-Fi is tough and many network operators underestimate what will be required. In 2008 Wi-Fi at Le Web failed spectacularly, despite Swisscom charging 100,000 Euros. (See Michael Arrington’s TechCrunch post on the Wi-Fi failure)

1. Do: Communicate with speakers and delegates

Find out as much as you can about the speakers’ presentations before they go on stage. It’s becoming more and more common for speakers to stream content directly from YouTube or do live demos of Web 2.0 applications.

Also make sure you remain calm and courteous when there are problems. I made the mistake of trying to explain the importance of the integrity of the network to speakers who just urgently needed speedy connectivity. Tell them firstly that you will fix their problems. Then try to ascertain quickly what exactly the problem is and whether it’s isolated. (Remember, someone under pressure having a problem will almost always tell you that everyone is having a problem… you need to ascertain this for yourself)

Also make sure delegates get any passwords as part of their handout. Best way is an insert into nametags if possible.

2. Do: Dedicated Access for speakers on a physically separate network.

We had two Speaker Wi-Fi networks, one virtual and one on its own ADSL circuit. On Day One we had problems with our ADSL modems struggling under the load of 450 people which adversely affected the speaker virtual network.

3. Don’t: Use Splash / Login Pages

We had a simple Splash Page to welcome people to the Wi-Fi network and explain that some services were shaped and what they should do if they needed help. This was simply a barrier and in many cases people wouldn’t see the splash page if they tried to access the internet without first starting up a browser.

4. Do: Use the right equipment

We used two types of equipment, Meraki MR14 ($800) 802.11n routers which could cater for a 100+ users each and Ubiquiti Rocket M (~$250) devices as our backup solution. The Meraki routers worked beautifully, and we only needed to use a single Rocket M device to get more coverage. Meraki enabled us to have multiple SSIDs, each with separate speed limits and shaping policies. However, we couldn’t limit the upstream bandwidth with the Merakis, which meant the buffers on our modems overflowed and had to be frequently reset until we replaced them with better modems.

The really useful feature of Meraki was that we could clearly see which devices, and which applications, were using the most bandwidth. All of this was through a user-friendly web interface and changes could be made rapidly through this without remotely logging into the devices individually.

We also added some features to the Rocket M firmware using the AirOS SDK that enabled us to get more insights about user behaviour, but not nearly as much as Meraki could give us out of the box.

The Meraki devices also did Channel Spreading and the Cloud Controller would reduce radio power on APs they caused interference with each other. Combined with MIMO, beamforming and spatial multiplexing meant that we never had problems with people’s devices connecting to the Wi-Fi network.

5. Do: Proper Backhaul

We spent a lot of time and money planning the the Wi-Fi network to ensure we could have hundreds of devices online simultaneously. But whereas we had spent about $8,000 on Wi-Fi equipment, we only spent $150 on ADSL modems. They were cheap & nasty and ultimately fell over.

The biggest challenge with conference Wi-Fi is proper backhaul. We’ve had conferences where our upstream provider would change between satellite & fibre and back again without any warning. We’d suddenly get major latencies and, having hundreds of people online already, it’s very difficult to troubleshoot as you can’t bring down the entire network for a test.

It’s hard to convey the difficulty and expense of this to event organisers. For many people, internet is a utility like electricity or water and it’s expected to just work. You also have very little possibility of fixing a backhaul problem on the day of the conference, so it’s crucial to plan this weeks in advance. And always have a fallback solution that can cater for the most critical needs.

6. Don’t: Underestimate Costs

There’s a reluctance to spend money on conference Wi-Fi because of it’s “temporary” nature. But let me put it this way: It’s tougher to set up a network for 500 conference attendees than it is to set up a network for a company with 500 employees. With the latter, you can set clear and strict policies and often control the network down to the device level. You typically have days to build a company network, as opposed to hours.

And you also don’t risk the company’s employees tweeting every time Facebook takes too long to load, which has a very hard cost to your brand, especially at popular conferences.

7. Do: Test, Test, Test

t’s common to do a bunch of quick Wi-Fi signal & throughput tests. But what’s really necessary is to test every type of application that may be used on the day. Set up a few computers to run BitTorrents and large file-downloads and see if the net is still usable.

These are simple tests and won’t give you the most comprehensive results, but it will help you eliminate some basic problems.

8. Do: Prepare!

Before committing to doing the conference, do a proper site survey of the location. Are there enough powerpoints? Where can you terminate backhaul? Is there a location where your engineers can work from and observe what is happening on stage as well as the network? Is the ADSL Exchange in the area known to give problems? Can you use 3G as a backup?

9. Don’t: EVER install a solution for a venue and say you can remotely support it.

Even though this is theoretically possible, in reality, you simply won’t know what the speakers or delegates might throw at you. We made this mistake once. Besides for things going wrong while we weren’t there, we also gave up an opportunity to charge the conference organisers for our time, who were willing to pay.

10. Don’t: Undercharge!

I don’t know of any Audio-Visual companies who do free AV (sound, screens, lighting) or any caterers who give free food for conferences. Yet, because free Wi-Fi has become so pervasive at coffeeshops, there seems to be the perception that Wi-Fi is something cheap and easy. It’s not. If you don’t charge, you are less likely to have your best engineers to work on it and you are less likely to buy the equipment that you should be using.

Compare your rates with other conference costs (caterers, AV, venue) and look at the expertise required. Charging 100,000 EUR for 1,700 people is not completely out of whack. You may not be able to charge as much as you could for setting up a corporate network, but don’t undercharge either.

There are often sponsorship opportunities and exhibition space available, usually at a 2:1 ratio, which is good, but if you go in with cheap Wi-Fi that doesn’t work, you will only damage your brand.