The Wi-Fi Alliance, a network of companies (including Apple) that promote wireless networking technologies, have announced the Wi-Fi HaLow designation for products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah technology. It operates in frequency bands below one gigahertz, offering longer range, lower power connectivity to Wi-Fi Certified products.
There’s no word on when Wi-Fi HaLow products will hit the market. However, the technology could benefit Apple’s HomeKit and even the Apple Watch. HomeKit is a framework that allows control of compatible home automation devices through iOS and Siri.
Wi-Fi HaLow will enable a variety of new power-efficient use cases in the smart home, connected car, and digital healthcare, as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and smart city environments, according to Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance. It extends Wi-Fi into the 900 MHz band, enabling the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensor and wearables.
Wi-Fi HaLow’s range is 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 where the ability to more easily penetrate walls or other barriers is an important consideration, says Figueroa. He adds that it will “broadly adopt” existing Wi-Fi protocols and deliver many of the benefits that consumers have come to expect from Wi-Fi today, including multi-vendor interoperability, strong government-grade security, and easy setup.
Many devices that support Wi-Fi HaLow are expected to operate in 2.4 and 5 GHz as well as 900 MHz, allowing devices to connect with Wi-Fi’s ecosystem of more than 6.8 billion installed devices. Like all Wi-Fi devices, Wi-Fi HaLow devices will support IP-based connectivity to natively connect to the cloud.