Wi-Fi Alliance has announced the Wi-Fi HaLow designation for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah technology at the Consumer Electronics Show Las Vegas. Wi-Fi HaLow, designed keeping IoT applications in mind, operates in 900 MHz band (as opposed to 2.4 GHz and 5 Ghz bands in which traditional WiFi operates). The new standard lowers power consumption and also extends the rage. It will “enable a variety of new power-efficient use cases in the Smart Home, connected car, and digital healthcare, as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and smart city environments,” said the WiFi Alliance, in a release. Wi-Fi HaLow’s range is nearly twice that of today’s Wi-Fi, and will not only be capable of transmitting signals further, but will also provide “a more robust connection in challenging environments where the ability to more easily penetrate walls or other barriers is an important consideration,” says the body. Wi-Fi HaLow will broadly adopt existing Wi-Fi protocols and deliver many of the benefits that consumers have come to expect from Wi-Fi today, including multi-vendor interoperability, strong government-grade security, and easy setup. Many devices that support Wi-Fi HaLow are
expected to operate in 2.4 and 5 GHz as well as 900 MHz, allowing devices to connect with Wi-Fi’s ecosystem of more than 6.8 billion installed devices. Like all Wi-Fi devices, Wi-Fi HaLow devices will support IP-based connectivity to natively connect to the cloud, which will become increasingly important in reaching the full potential of the Internet of Things (IoT), said WiFi Alliance. Dense device deployments will also benefit from Wi-Fi HaLow’s ability to connect thousands of devices to a single access point. Wi-Fi HaLow complements existing Wi-Fi technologies and expands Wi-Fi Alliance’s overall portfolio with a low power solution that will enable Wi-Fi to maintain its critical role in the IoT. Additional IoT-related activities are underway in Wi-Fi Alliance that are helping to further proliferate Wi-Fi in the Smart Home and other segments. In particular, Wi-Fi Alliance is developing a new secure and simple way to connect and configure devices without a display or input mechanisms, as is the case with many Smart Home devices today. Various standards and protocol groups are competing to create standards for IoT based products and services WiFi, thanks to its large scale deployment, already has many IoT devices operating using it. However, its lower range and high power consumption was seen as a challenge for wider application. WiFi HaLow is specifically designed to address that gap.
Nash David is passionate about technology and mobile devices. He closely follows the smartphone, and tablet platform market. He also leads editorial efforts for devworx. You may send him tweets @nashpd or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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