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in Broadband by Contributor (8.2k points)
edited by
Hey, I aint a networks Guru, used to hate the course back at MSU, but need to know, how do our 'Metres' communicate with the ZESA HQ? If i Buy 'magetsi' i get a card that im supposed to juice up and obviously it does communicate with ZESA to ensure my recharge pin is valid. What Tech is used for the communication, are we able to send data via our electrical cables, if so, does that mean we can now have Internety access using ZESA cables?

I know i might sound stupid, but i have absolutely no idea, pleaser help!
by Expert (16.4k points)
reshown by
Hold on guys! there is no communication between your meter and some central point at Zesa. Those recharge numbers/cards work much like old Windows activation keys where the key is algorithmically related to the serial of the CD/meter and authentication happens locally.
by
True. There's no link between your meter and any ZESA "central point". For a start, the pin number for recharging will only work with your meter and not another. This proves that there's some algorithmic relation between the recharge number and the meter. Secondly, if the meters where linked to ZESA control, then instead of giving me a voucher with PIN numbers to enter into my meter they'd just recharge me from their "server" :-)

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7 Answers

+1 vote
by Regular (2.3k points)
selected by
 
Best answer
They use PLC, which transmit data over power lines.

ZESA: http://www.zesa.co.zw/htdocs/index.php/2012-12-12-10-39-47/prepaid-meters

PLC: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Power_line_communication

Simples. Google is your friend.
+2 votes
by Contributor (7.1k points)
No they send signals via wireless protocols which is slighlty different from Those Econet towers. I am sure the antennaes for the transmission are in that box that they mount on the electric poles when installing pre-paid meters
+1 vote
by Contributor (7.1k points)
Now some people are lying, on the zesa website on the faqs page its written that these prepaid meters use PLC that stands for Power Line Communication, you can google PLC and find out what that means. in simple terms, yes zesa pre paid meters are communicating with some server
by
true, try checking the x10 protocol or homeplug 1.0 protocol u may get some conclusive answers
0 votes
by Guru (88.1k points)
The technology to transfer data over electric wire is there bt its only good for home use or place which are not far apart as it is limited by distance. Its not something get from a service provider bt from electric gadgets manufacturers.
by Expert (16.4k points)
Signalling along power lines has been around for ever and ZESA uses it. Limitations in home power line networks has nothing to to do with technology limitations but like 802.11, transmit power has got to be limited to avoid interference since channels are finite.
0 votes
by Expert (16.4k points)
Hold on guys! there is no communication between your meter and some central point at Zesa. Those recharge numbers/cards work much like old Windows activation keys where the key is algorithmically related to the serial of the CD/meter and authentication happens locally.
by Contributor (8.2k points)
I think you are lying, it cant be local coz 1) its generated when i buy the top up and 2) they are now selling via airtime vendors, meaning one recharge can be used by anyone, but with Win activation keys, it was supposed to be perculiar to your CD
by Expert (16.4k points)
You may be right. They do have a signaling system via power lines in place already for maintenance, atatus reports and switching so let me find out if they has been any upgrade to include metering. I don't mean to be lying to you Tawanda.
by Guru (57.6k points)
Chris i know someone with the prepay meter
its only connected to Zesa by an AC/DC transformer - its definitely impossible for the unit to send signals back down the Zesa cables but its remotely possible that there are using some kind of wireless communications protocol

its worth noting that such a method would be open to fraud if it didnt communicate back to base
by new here (420 points)
I agree with Chris its simple guys, those vendors are connected to a server with a data base that generates the token, the database uses the meter number to do so. Hence the token will only work on the specific meter number.....
0 votes
by Guru (88.1k points)
Go on guys, lm taking notes then....
by Expert (16.4k points)
I suppose you already thinking of reverse engineering the token generator. Start by never throwing away any token you buy for the next 100 purchases of the same amount and using meter serial, date time and amount as constants, I'll crack it for you. Magetsi kuvanhu.

OK... I'm joking. Lets not do that
by Expert (10.1k points)
Hahaha,what an idea
0 votes
by
there is some wired connection using PLC power line communication, could be X10 protocol homeplug 1.0 protocol etc.
we can use these technologies to set up networks with LAN speed
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