The WiFi Alliance announced the WiFi HaLow designation for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah technology, which operates in frequency bands below one gigahertz, offering longer range and lower power connectivity to WiFi Certified products.
WiFi HaLow is designed to enable a variety of new power efficient use cases in the smart home, connected car, and digital health care markets, as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and smart city environments.
"The vision for the Internet of Things (IoT) represents an incredibly diverse set of scenarios with equally diverse requirements. WiFi HaLow, along with traditional WiFi, provide a set of complementary capabilities that can address a large portion of these IoT scenarios," Kevin Robinson, vice president of marketing at WiFi Alliance, told eWEEK.
He explained the market for WiFi devices is expanding to include new use cases that require longer range, lower power connectivity, and said WiFi HaLow is the answer to the industry demand for low power connectivity that retains the security protections, native IP support, broad ecosystem, and great interoperability experience users have come to expect from WiFi.
"WiFi is already the default mode of connectivity to the Internet, and a more power efficient, longer range solution will enable WiFi to further proliferate in markets, including the smart home, connected car, digital health care, industrial, retail, and smart city, while connecting with the billions of user-facing WiFi devices already in use," Robinson explained.
HaLow extends WiFi into the 900 MHz band, enabling the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensor and wearables.
HaLow’s range is nearly twice that of today’s WiFi, and it is capable of transmitting signals further as well as providing a more robust connection in challenging environments where the ability to more easily penetrate walls or other barriers is an important consideration.
"The IoT is an enormous market, with more objects and things adding connectivity to collect and exchange data, and WiFi will play a central role in delivering that connectivity," Robinson said. "WiFi is already found in a dizzying array of device categories, and WiFi is continuing to evolve alongside the burgeoning IoT market by offering several new solutions to meet emerging device requirements."
He explained WiFi HaLow is one example of WiFi addressing the need for lower power, longer range connectivity for many segments within the IoT.
"WiFi will also soon support a new device provisioning solution to securely and simply connect devices without a user interface – as is the case with many smart home products," Robinson said. "WiFi enables IoT to reach its full potential by providing new standards-based capabilities coupled with strong security, robust connectivity, legacy compatibility, and integration with billions of user-facing devices."