HaLow WiFi Standard Brings Its Own Set of Highs and Lows

By Wayne Rash  |  Posted 2016-01-04 Print this article Print
HaLow WiFi

It's also smart to enable greater distance and reliability for communications needs that can use those lower speeds. A good example might be HaLow for a smart thermostat so that it's reachable throughout an entire house

Unfortunately, the new HaLow standard doesn't have its frequencies to itself. Because the 900MHz band is shared with other licensed services, the new WiFi band is subject to interference from other users and there is no remedy when that interference happens.

For example, if a ham radio operator next door goes on the air with a powerful signal that wipes out your smart thermostat, you're out of luck. Because you're an unlicensed service, you're required to accept that interference.

However, if your smart thermostat happens to cause interference to that ham radio operator next door, then you're required to stop doing it. As an unlicensed user, you have few rights to the spectrum if someone else wants to use it.

Fortunately for future users of the HaLow standard, 900MHz isn't a busy band. While this band isn't heavily used by amateur radio operators, there are a lot of land mobile users, especially in large cities and HaLow can't interfere with those users either. So while there will be times when WiFi users will be required to give way to licensed users, this probably won't occur frequently.

If you're contemplating commercial use of HaLow WiFi for your business, the limitations of this band will matter to you, depending on how it's used in your area. You will need to be prepared for the possibility that there may be places where you can't use 802.11ha because other services are creating too much interference. There's no help for that. You're going to have to find another frequency or another business model.

Fortunately, there are options. While the 2.4GHz band might not be ideal for what you have planned for lower frequencies, it's still there and doesn't share some of the limitations of 900MHz, such as a lot of licensed users that you must share with.

The new standards for 900MHz are a welcome addition to the WiFi world, and because the WiFi Alliance will be certifying tri-band devices, future WiFi devices should have added flexibility. While the new frequencies won't do anything to help with big entertainment downloads, it will provide a new doorway into important new uses for wireless.



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