If you were looking for a reason to take the Internet of Things (IoT) movement seriously, then the Wi-Fi Alliance have probably just provided you one. Allow us to introduce you to HaLow, the latest and newest standard by the Wi-Fi Alliance which not only requires less power, but nearly doubles the range of wireless communication between devices running this standard.
If you prefer a more technical name then you can refer to HaLow as 802.11ah Wi-Fi, which is predominantly aimed at devices designed for the connected home and Internet of Things (IoT) market.
You may find yourself wondering why HaLow, or 802.11ah, is being aimed solely at devices that are being pushed into the smart home? What makes HaLow so unique that the Wi-Fi Alliance can comfortably make the claim that it’s the almost perfect standard for Internet of Things devices? It all pretty much boils down to the fact that 802.11ah uses the unlicensed 900MHz frequency that has long been utilized by the cordless telephones within our home. Of course, cordless telephones utilizing this spectrum are still being used abundantly throughout many homes, but the Wi-Fi Alliance does not believe those numbers are enough to compete or cause an issue.
The Wi-Fi Alliance has also been extremely smart in utilizing this particular frequency as it lowers signal disruption when traveling through walls or other obstacles inside the house. The lower the frequency of the radio waves, the less issues they have in attempting to penetrate through walls and other internal obstructions within your home. Given the fact that IoT or home automation-based devices will be scattered throughout a property, it makes perfect sense to utilize this frequency to provide enhanced range and support.
It all may sound like a great improvement – and it is for very specific devices – but don’t expect your next iMac or Windows-powered computer to ship with support for HaLow, as the Wi-Fi Alliance is intending 802.11ah to take over smart connected devices at the moment. With that in mind the Alliance has placed an importance on slower wireless speeds and is focusing on transmitting relatively small data packets from IoT devices.
Wi-Fi Alliance President and CEO, Edgar Figueroa, believes that “HaLow is well suited to meet the unique needs of the Smart Home, Smart City, and industrial markets because of its ability to operate using very low power”. Wi-Fi Alliance has officially introduced HaLow as a standard, but won’t begin certifying products that use it until 2018.