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HaLow is the next-gen wireless standard for Internet of Things devices

How many devices in your home is connected to the Internet? A lot people have several computers (mostly laptops), a smartphone, a tablet, a SmartTV and gaming console. These devices are connected to the Internet using WiFi standard. However, what about other devices which will be a part of Internet of Things? WiFi solution is fatal for small devices powered from battery.

Therefore WiFi Alliance works on new standard, i.e. 802.11ah HaLow. I have to admit that the idea of this standard is great, because it will operate at 900 MHz band. What this band is better than 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum used by WiFi devices? Lower frequency means longer range, better obstacles penetration obstacles and lower power consumption. Therefore, HaLow signal will be less attenuated by walls and floors, so you will also have less dead points without coverage than in case of 2.4 GHz WiFi networks. Lower power consumption results from the fact that the device can transmit signal with lower power in order to achieve good transmission conditions.

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Source: www.qualcomm.com

However, HaLow has one disadvantage. Namely, throughput will be much lower than in case of WiFi, because the signal will be transmitted through 1 MHz or 2 MHz channels. A minimum throughput is assumed to be 150 kbps, so it should be good enough for IoT (Internet of Things) devices. Thanks so thoughtful assumptions, the range of HaLow network should be almost two time longer than WiFi network in the real conditions.

A lot of people wonder why we need new wirelesses standard since we have Bluetooth, which is currently used for example in wearable devices. Unfortunately Bluetooth allows us to connect our device (e.g. smartwatch) with only one device and it does not have access to the Internet. In case of HaLow, IoT devices will be able to exchange data with each other and be connected to the Internet. However, we will have to wait over 2 years for firsts devices, because WiFi Alliance will start the certification process in 2018.

 

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