As the Internet of Things begins to gain momentum in 2016, the need for low-power Wi-Fi alternatives has never been higher.
With the announcement of Wi-Fi HaLow at CES this week, the call for a solution may just have been answered.
The Wi-Fi Alliance, a global non-profit industry association, revealed the Wi-Fi HaLow designation for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah technology.
Wi-Fi HaLow operates in frequency bands below one gigahertz, offering longer range and lower power connectivity.
Currently, smart home devices use a low-power form of Wi-Fi, but which is also low-range.
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This means that the devices on the network must act as 'repeaters' for the other devices, boosting the Wi-Fi signal so that appliances outside the range of the router can be included on the network.
With Wi-Fi HaLow, which offers low power whilst maintaining a long range, devices will be able to connect much more easily to the network without using too much power.
It will not only enable power-efficiency in smart homes but also in connected cars as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and Smart City environments.
The technology extends Wi-Fi into the 900 MHz band, enabling the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensors and wearables.
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The range is also nearly twice that of today’s Wi-Fi, and will not only be capable of transmitting signals further, but also providing a more robust connection in challenging environments.
“Wi-Fi 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, penetrate through walls, and operate at significantly longer ranges than Wi-Fi today,” said Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance.
“Wi-Fi HaLow expands the unmatched versatility of Wi-Fi to enable applications from small, battery-operated wearable devices to large-scale industrial facility deployments – and everything in between.”
As well as Wi-Fi HaLow, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced it is also working on a new secure and simple way to connect and configure devices without a display or input mechanism.
Keep an eye on our CES 2016 Hub for all the latest updates.