Wi-Fi HaLow for IoT Deployments

Feb. 23, 2024
The Wireless Broadband Alliance announces testing of Wi-Fi HaLow for IoT applications in industry as well as building automation.

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), the global organization that promotes the latest Wi-Fi initiatives, is now showcasing the 802.11ah Wi-Fi HaLow technology for real-world use cases.

According to the WBA, Wi-Fi HaLow refers to the IEEE 802.11ah standard, which can deliver extended ranges, improved material penetration capabilities, extended battery life, enhanced device density, minimized end-to-end delays, a higher level of security, ease of installation and management, and elevated data throughput in IoT (Internet of Things) scenarios.  

The purpose of the standard is to extend the benefits of Wi-Fi into more IoT applications by solving issues such as limited reach between connections, poor connections through walls, short battery life and limited number of connections in traditional Wi-Fi. New features of the 11ah standard include operations in the sub-1 GHz radio band, the use of narrow channel bandwidths, increased number of supported devices and new operating modes to accommodate battery operated devices. 

Wi-Fi HaLow builds upon the foundation of Wi-Fi, retaining such features as high levels of security and native IP support inherent in all internet connectivity.
Commercial test deployments of the technology will demonstrate how Wi-Fi HaLow extends the benefits of Wi-Fi into more IoT applications where unique technical challenges must be overcome to realize the business benefits.

Trial scenarios

In the coming months, the WBA project team will test use case applications to demonstrate the benefits and performance of Wi-Fi HaLow in the real world, including understanding crucial metrics such as coverage areas, data rates, throughput and signal reliability. A detailed analysis from the trials will inform new deployment guides, helping industry successfully roll-out IoT systems without having to resort to proprietary or non-IP technologies to gain the automation, insights and business benefits that IoT promises to deliver.

Here's how testing will take place across use-case applications:

  • Industrial IoT – Focus on testing industrial applications including asset tracking, infrastructure monitoring, remote equipment control, safety automation and security monitoring.
  • Smart building automation – Conduct testing to support smart building applications such as physical security, surveillance, access control, safety alarms and water sensors.
  • Smart city – Focus on infrastructure monitoring, smart utilities and traffic management to highlight wider coverage benefits, high data throughput, increased device density and low-cost maintenance.
  • Smart home – Evaluate Wi-Fi HaLow against traditional Wi-Fi in security cameras, HVAC, appliances, detached garage connections, solar power systems, power backup generators and EV chargers. 
  • Smart retail – The assessment will cover scanners, readers, point-of-sale equipment, asset tracking, security monitoring, warehouse robots and handlers.
  • Agriculture technology – Trials in smart agriculture or precision farming systems include environmental monitoring, soil monitoring, plant health monitoring, actuator control and data collection for predictive breeding.

“The move to demonstrate Wi-Fi HaLow in real-world scenarios is an important milestone for the WBA and the contributing industry members supporting these activities,” said Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the WBA. “Each scenario will highlight how Wi-Fi HaLow solves connectivity problems, which previously may have required non-standard RF radio technology, or incurred higher costs of ownership.”

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