Frequently Asked Questions – and answers

General questions:

What does the name SmartWi mean?

Which are the basic concepts of SmartWi – do I need a dictionary?

Why can’t I get a SmartWi from my Operator?

What do I need to get started?

Where can I place the Master in my home?

Can we watch all our favourite TV programs with a SmartWi?

Can I watch Free-to-air programmes with a SmartWi?

Will all our TV sets show the same channel with a SmartWi?

Is SmartWi legal?

The SmartWi Multi room Solutions

A: SmartWi II

What is included in the SmartWi Package ?

What is a SmartWi II Master?

What is a SmartWi II Client Card?

Can I use my SmartWi II Client Cards with a SmartWi LITE?

B: SmartWi LITE

What is included in the SmartWi LITE package ?

What is a SmartWi LITE Master?

What is a SmartWi LITE Client Card?

Can I use my SmartWi LITE Client Cards with a SmartWi II?

Wireless Card splitter Technology:

How does the SmartWi work?

Why don’t you just make a simple plug-and-play SmartWi?

Does SmartWi work with TV-signals from satellite-, cable-, and terrestial operators?

Which technical standards does SmartWi apply?

What are the limitations on the SmartWi Multi room Solution?

Does SmartWi work with IP-TV?

What is encryption?

What exactly is transmitted between the Master and the Clients?

Which encryption
systems does the SmartWi support?

Which encryption systems does SmartWi not support?

Does SmartWi support analogue, digital and HD TV?

Which technical standards does SmartWi apply?

SmartWi Support

I have a problem with installation of my new SmartWi  – can you help me?

My SmartWi ceased to work – what happened?

SmartWi Sales and Distribution

Where can I purchase a SmartWi?

How can I determine if SmartWi works with my Operator/Provider?

General Questions

What does the name SmartWi mean?

The word SmartWi is a combination of Smart card and Wireless. Indicating that SmartWi is a technology that only works with wireless communication between smart cards.

In other words: SmartWi cannot be applied with services not using smart card technology.

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Which are the basic concepts of SmartWi – do I need a dictionary?

Well, it may be a little hairy if you never heard of smart cards and WI-FI.

But you don’t need to know much to install the SmartWi, and during operation the SmartWi requires no maintenance.

For a list of concepts please go ahead to Wireless Cardsplitter Technology, and for a glossary of the most commonly used terms follow this link.

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Why can’t I get a SmartWi from my Operator?

Well, a good question. Some operators do in fact apply the SmartWi technology, but the vast majority uses complicated or outdated methods to supply pay-TV to multiple rooms in a household – while some operators do not offer a multiroom solution at all.

Offering a multi room solution is in fact a bit tricky in terms of technology and protection of program providers’ rights and other security issues.

SmartWi is the obvious answer to these challenges, and if your operator is not among the suppliers of a wireless solution, please ask your operator – or simply purchase a SmartWi.

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What do I need to get started?

First of all you need at least two TV sets – the SmartWi supports up to five TV sets – and a program card from your provider of pay-TV.

Your operator/provider may have supplied a set-top-box with or without a hard disk recorder, or you may have flat screen TV with a smart card slot/reader.

If your second TV does not have a smart card slot you will need an extra decoder with a smart card reader. And you will need an outlet with a TV-signal from an antenna cable for each receiver.

It is important to understand that the SmartWi does not transmit the full TV signal – it only sends the decrypted codes needed to watch pay-TV to each receiver every 10 seconds.

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Where can I place the Master in my home?

Basically, you can place the Master anywhere you wish – you only need a power outlet and a maximum range of 10-15 meters to each decoder/car dreader with a client card. The wireless signals travel normally through inner walls.

In some buildings stability of SmartWi may depend on the position of the Master, especially where walls or floor separation involves reinforced concrete, or maybe insulation with aluminium foil.

If such problems occur you may try to move the Master to a slightly different location.

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Can we watch all our favourite TV programs with a SmartWi?

Yes, you can watch all the programs provided by your operator. And you can select programs independently on all receivers that are connected with a TV-signal and the wireless SmartWi.

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Can I watch Free-to-air programs with a SmartWi?

Yes, if Free-to-air programs are included in your TV package, you can watch them too. But for these channels specifically you don’t need a SmartWi.

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Will all our TV sets show the same channel with a SmartWi?

No, of course not. SmartWi gives full flexibility within the household. When connected, children may watch a cartoon, mummy the culture channel and daddy the sports – for example.

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Is SmartWi legal?

Yes, SmartWi is absolutely a legal device. A few European operators do not allow the use of card splitting technology in their user agreements, but this is purely a commercial question.

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The SmartWi Multi room Solutions

A: Smartwi II

What is included in the SmartWi II Package ?

The SmartWi II package consists of a SmartWi Master, two client/slave cards, a power supply, a USB cable and an installation manual.

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What is a SmartWi II Master?

The SmartWi II Master is the central electronic unit in the SmartWi Multi room Solution.

On the outside a stylish design in piano black, and inside a number of electronic components with an antenna for wireless communication with the client/slave cards.

It has a smart card slot at the bottom where the operator’s program card is inserted and hidden during normal operation.

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What is a SmartWi II Client Card/Slave Card?

The SmartWi Client Card is often referred to as a slave card because it functions under the command of the Master.

It has a communication unit, an antenna and a smart card chip which is programmed by the Master during the initial installation.

The Master and each client card are ‘paired’ so that they can only communicate with each other – as if they were connected with a cord.

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Can I use my SmartWi II Client Cards with a SmartWi LITE?

No. The SmartWi II comes with a black version 12 client card which is not compatible with the blue version 8 used in the SmartWi LITE.

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B: SmartWi LITE

What is included in the SmartWi LITE package ?

The SmartWi II package consists of a SmartWi Master, three client/slave cards, a power supply, a USB cable and an installation manual inside the cardboard box.

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What is a SmartWi LITE Master?

The SmartWi LITE Master is the central electronic unit in the SmartWi Multi room Solution.

On the outside a classic design, and inside a number of electronic components with an antenna for wireless communication with the client/slave cards.

It has a smartcard slot at the side where the operator’s program card is inserted and partly visible during normal operation.

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What is a SmartWi LITE Client Card/Slave Card?

The SmartWi Client Card is often referred to as a slave card because it functions under the command of the Master.

It has a communication unit, an antenna and a smart card chip which is programmed by the Master during the initial installation.

The Master and each client card are ‘paired’ so that they can only communicate with each other – as if they were connected with a cord.

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Can I use my SmartWi LITE Client Cards with a SmartWi II?

No. The SmartWi LITE comes with a blue version 8 client card which is not compatible with the black version 12 used in the SmartWi II.

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Wireless Card splitter technology:

How does the SmartWi work?

The basic components of the the SmartWi Multi room Solution are the TV signals, the set-top box/decoder, the SmartWi Master, the SmartWi client/slave cards and at least two TVs in a normal home. You will need an external or in-built decoder with a card reader for each TV – and SmartWi normally supports at least five TV sets in a household.

The function of a SmartWi is somewhat similar to wireless internet router – with a password for protection – only the SmartWi does not broadcast a signal as the internet router, thus the technical term cardsplitter or access point, or simply a wireless switch box.

During normal operation the TV-signals go into the decoder unit where pictures, sound and text is decoded and displayed on the TV. However, in pay-TV a small, encrypted signal is included in the stream app. every 10 seconds. This must be decoded by the decryption key stored in the viewing card from your provider in order to continue operation.

With the SmartWi Multi room Solution the viewing card is inserted into the SmartWi Master, and a client/slave card is inserted into each decoding unit. When each decoder receives the encrypted signal, this is instantly transmitted wireless to the Master with the provider viewing card – with a request for the correct ‘answer’ to the request.

This is processed in the smart card exactly as if the smart card were still in the decoder unit, and subsequently transmitted to each client/slave card – and the signal flow continues without interruption.

The initial installation ‘pairs’ each client card with the Master and this protects the signals against intruders from the neighbourhood. Also, the range of the wireless transmission is normally not more than 15 meters.

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Why don’t you just make a simple plug-and-play SmartWi?

At SmartWi we strive to make installation and operation as simple as possible. But the function is depending on the CA System used by the operator, and this particular information is applied during installation.

Also the installation is imperative for the two-way communication and part of the security measures to ensure that the content stays within the subscriber’s household.

Finally, the variety of hundreds of different decoder types and brands – old and newer – with a variety of technological functions is a challenge to the SmartWi, and a few of them just cannot work with a multi room system.

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Does SmartWi work with TV-signals from satellite-, cable-, and terrestrial Operators?

Yes, the use of technology platform in transmission of signals is of no consequence to the SmartWi.

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Which technical standards does SmartWi apply?

The central technical standard used by SmartWi is the ISO 7816-3 – an international standard related to electronic identification cards with contacts, especially smart cards, managed jointly by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO),and the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC).

Notably, this restricts the bandwidth used and the strength of the wireless transmission signals. The current versions of SmartWi operates on the 868 MHz band which is used in Europe, Middle East and other regions. This frequency is considerably lower than the fairly crowded 2.4 MHz band used for wireless internet and other applications, but  the 2.4 MHz band is not applied by SmartWi.

Using the low frequency makes SmartWi less likely to interfere with other communication and thus much more stable. It also travels better through walls inside the house.

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What are the limitations on the SmartWi Multi room Solution?

The technical limitations follow the ISO 7816 standard. The permitted, narrow bandwidth limits the normal number of clients to five – however it does vary between encryption systems depending on the amount of information that needs to be tramsmitted between the Master and the clients. The maximum allowed signal strength restricts the wireless transmission range to 10-15 meters.

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Does SmartWi work with IP-TV?

No. IP-TV is a streamed signal which may be protected by a variety of systems – normally not involving smartcards.

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What is encryption?

Encryption is the method used to protect the pay-TV signals. Often referred to as CA System. See more under Glossary of Terms below.

The encryption or CA System in a decisive parameter for the application of SmartWi.

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What exactly is transmitted between the Master and the Clients?

SmartWi works with two-way communication. The client/slave cards send requests to the SmartWi (access point) for a key to open encrypted data embedded in the TV-signal.

The request is processed in the operator smart card inside the Master, and the ‘answer’ is sent wireless to the client cards. The function is basically the same as if the operator smart card were inserted into the decoder.

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Which encryption systems does the SmartWi support?

See the explanation under Glossary and Terms below.

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Which encryption systems does SmartWi not support?

See the explanation under Glossary and Terms below.

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Does SmartWi support analogue, digital and HD TV?

Yes. The type of signals is irrelevant to SmartWi. If SmartWi works with one type, it will normally also work with another – for example if an Operator shuts down the analogue signal in favour of digital.

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Which technical standards does SmartWi apply?

The SmartWi wireless communication is based on the international ISO 7816-3 standard. Read more about this standard here.

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SmartWi Support

I have a problem with installation of my new SmartWi – can you help me?

If you have already followed the guidelines in the installation manual strictly, and your new SmartWi still does not work – please contact your supplier, or you may wish to visit our support page for further information.

In case this does not solve your problem, you are always welcome to contact us at the SmartWi head quarter via our contact page.

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My SmartWi ceased to work – what happened?

If your SmartWi has been operating normally and suddenly ceases to function, this may be a question of an update of software from the operator.

This problem may be solved by an update of the SmartWi soft/firmware. Please follow the instruction on our download pages, and please make sure you choose the newest firmware version for your type of SmartWi. The firmware for the different SmartWi versions is not identical.

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SmartWi Sales and Distribution

Where can I purchase a SmartWi?

SmartWi is currently primarily marketed through distributors and dealer networks in many countries – often in shops on the internet. You will find an updated list of distributors on this page.

You can always contact the SmartWi headquarter for information about sales and distributors via this contact page.

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How can I determine if SmartWi works with my Operator/Provider?

The central issue in this case is the CA/CI System used by your operator. SmartWi does not support some of these (proprietary) systems – and operators most often have no mention of the systems applied in their service.

If you do not have this information, please contact your local distributor or dealer. You may also ask your operator, and you are always welcome to ask us at SmartWi headquarter via our contact page.

SmartWi is developing a buying guide to assist private customers to decide whether or not SmartWi works with your operator. With a very large number of operators worldwide and regular changes in CA Systems this remains a future challenge to SmartWi.

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Glossary of Terms used with Cardsplitter Technology

– and how it relates to SmartWi

CA (Conditional Access)

– refers to the encryption technology that allows TV operators to securely control access to pay-TV services. The most popular form is via smartcard technology. If the CA involves smartcard technology and encryption systems supported, then SmartWi will be the perfect multi room solution.

Read more about CA on Wikipedia here.

CA System

– refers to the particular method used in the decryption of TV signals. Several companies provide competing CA systems. VideoGuard (NDS), Ir**to Access, Nagravision, Conax, Viaccess, B-CAS (Multi 2), and Mediaguard (SECA) are among the most commonly used CA systems.

SmartWi currently supports these CA Systems:

Some CA Systems are so-called proprietary – indicating that only decoder/set-top boxes provided by the Operator will function, and the viewing card must be inserted in this box during operation.

The card is normally ‘paired’ with the box and cannot be used in other boxes. This also means that flat screen TV with embedded card reader or CA Module does not function with these systems. Among these systems are presently

  • NDS Videoguard
  • Nagravision
  • Ir**to (with pairing)
  • Conax (with pairing)

Currently SmartWi does not work with systems using pairing. Basically, SmartWi only works when the operator viewing card can be removed from the decoder box and inserted in the SmartWi Master.

Read more about CA Systems on Wikipedia here.

Catch-up TV

– online TV portals that carry TV operators’ content allowing consumers to watch programs that they may have missed. It involves a two-way communication with the provider.

Catch-up TV is usually IP TV (via Internet) – normally not involving smart cards and thus not applicable for SmartWi.

Decoder

– a part of the CA system located in the set-top box that specifically decodes the TV-signal including pictures, sound and text.
A decoder is the same as a set-top box, and in modern flat screen TVs it is built into the TV with MPEG-2 or MPEG-4 standards. In order to work with pay-TV, a flat screen TV also normally has an embedded card reader or a CA Module specified for the particular encryption system.

The decoder or decoding device works closely with the SmartWi Master. During normal operation, the operator smart card is inserted into the SmartWi Master, where the encrypted part of the TV-signal is decrypted by the smart card chip. With SmartWi each decoder sends a wireless request for a decryption of the encrypted signal every 10 seconds to the Master, which replies with the requested authorization code allowing the continued flow of the TV-signal.

Decryption

– (see also encryption) is the process normally conducted by the secured information key stored in the Operator smartcard chip.

SmartWi does not decrypt any signal. SmartWi is an access point where each decoder/receiver can retrieve the decrypted signal needed for continued flow of the TV signal.

DVR or PVR

– (Digital Video Recorder or Personal Video Recorder) a device that allows consumers to record digital television onto an integrated had disk drive (see HDD) for playback at their convenience.

The use of a video recorder is has no immediate bearing on the use of SmartWi. Normally a pay-TV program is recorded on a hard disk including the encryption codes. When replayed the signal needs to be decoded by the smart card chip. If a provider updates the decryption system, you may not be able to watch older, recorded material. This has, however, nothing to do with SmartWi.

EPG (Electronic Program Guide)

– an application resident in set-top boxes that gives the user access to program information and television schedules.

The application of EPG has no bearing on SmartWi.

Encryption

– refers to the ‘encoding’ of digital information (sound and pictures). The encrypted information can only reviewed by individuals who are given an appropriate key, such as a smart card, so the data can be decrypted and viewed. Often referred to when discussing conditional access or CA.

The encryption is a determining factor for the use of SmartWi, which currently does not support all encryption systems (see below).

Encryption systems

– the systems used to secure pay-TV content. Often referred to as CA Systems – se explanation above.

FTA – (Free-to-air)

– refers to the TV operators who broadcast their programs with no encryption or conditional access system. Often program packages include a mix of pay- and free channels.

Smartwi is not involved in the distribution of free-to air channels as no encryption is involved.

HDTV

(High Definition Television) allows consumers to view television at very high resolution. In high definition TV the number of lines that makes up the picture is increased to 720 or 1080.

The encryption and CA systems are the same as regular TV signals – SDTV. So, if SmartWi works for regular transmissions, it also works with HDTV transmission.

IPTV

– (Internet Protocol Television) a method of delivering TV services to consumers using Internet Protocol, also referred to as Web-TV. This involves a streaming technology of regular TV-signals.

Normally, IPTV does not involves the use of smart cards in the access control to the
signals, and this excludes the use of SmartWi at present with this technology.

MPEG-2

– an international standard that enables the conversion of moving pictures into a highly compressed stream of digital data transmission. This was the first standard used for the broadcast of digital TV.

The MPEG-standard is of no consequence for the use of SmartWi.

MPEG-4

– a more efficient version of MPEG-2, or advanced video coding solution, with higher compression ratios. Allows operators to squeeze more channels into a given broadcast space, reducing bandwidth requirements. Has been widely deployed to support higher bandwidth services such as HD TV and bandwidth restrained markets such as IPTV.

The MPEG-standard is of no consequence for the use of SmartWi.

Pay TV

– Television services to which users can buy access usually via monthly subscription or rechargeable smart cards.

SDTV

– (Standard Definition TV) – the base level of picture quality used in digital TV transmission – as opposed to HDTV.

The picture resolution is not an issue with the use of SmartWi.

Smart card

– a card which allows users to access digital TV services. The card carries an individual key that unlocks, or decrypts Pay TV services. Often used with a corresponding CA system – see CA.

The application of smart card in a CA system is essential for the use of SmartWi.

STB

– (Set Top Box) often referred to as a decoder is a consumer electronic device that enables consumers to watch digital entertainment services. The primary function of the STB is to decode and receives the broadcast signal and transfer to the TV.

A STB or decoder is an essential part of the SmartWi Multi room Solution.