There's a new wireless networking protocol in town and it comes to bring connectivity to the Internet of Things. Say hello to IEEE 802.11ah, or Wi-Fi HaLow to its friends.
Wi-Fi HaLow is the latest specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance looking to expand the range of Wi-Fi's connectivity options.
HaLow is designed for the Internet of Things, designed to connect multiple devices wirelessly, over extended distances and using lower power.
What frequency is Wi-Fi HaLow?
Wi-Fi HaLow sits in the 900MHz band, designed to offer better penetration through walls, as well as nearly doubling the range compared to existing Wi-Fi connections. HaLow will also support IP-based connections to the cloud, for example to make your smartwatch independent.
You'll have to have IEEE 802.11ah compatible hardware of course, and it's likely that it will support existing 2.4 and 5GHz bands as normal too.
How will Wi-Fi HaLow be used?
It's likely to find its way into things like wearable technology, so your fitness band or smartwatch could use Wi-Fi HaLow instead of, or as well as, Bluetooth LE.
The use cases that the Wi-Fi Alliance have outlined include smarthome, connected cars, healthcare and various other industrial applications. For example, multiple sensors could be connected over Wi-Fi HaLow in your smarthome.
In all these cases it's likely to be low-bandwidth devices, providing a trickle of information, rather than a flood.
When are Wi-Fi HaLow devices likely to appear?
Not for some time. This is just first stage in making the certification official. Devices will need to be developed and tested, so you're unlikely to see anything in the immediate future.