Smart homes, cities and industry: Wi-Fi HaLow moves into the real world

Thursday, 08 February, 2024

Smart homes, cities and industry: Wi-Fi HaLow moves into the real world

The Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA), a global organisation that connects people with the latest Wi-Fi initiatives, is moving its ‘Wi-Fi HaLow for IoT’ program into a new phase, showcasing 802.11ah Wi-Fi HaLow solutions in real-world use cases with contributing industry members.

Wi-Fi HaLow will be trialled for a range of applications, including smart home, smart city, building automation, smart retail, industrial IoT and agriculture technology.

Through these commercial deployments, WBA aims to demonstrate how Wi-Fi HaLow can extend the benefits of Wi-Fi into more Internet of Things (IoT) applications where unique technical challenges must be overcome to realise business benefits.

Wi-Fi HaLow’s reported advantages include extended ranges, improved material penetration capabilities, extended battery life, enhanced device density, minimised end-to-end delay, a higher level of security, ease of installation and management, and elevated data throughput in IoT scenarios.

In coming months, the project team will test the following use cases and applications:

  • 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 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 building automation — Conduct testing to support smart building applications such as physical security, surveillance, access control, safety alarms and water sensors.
  • Smart retail — Showcase how Wi-Fi HaLow enhances consumer satisfaction and increases productivity for retailers and partners. The assessment will cover scanners, readers, point-of-sale equipment, asset tracking, security monitoring, warehouse robots and handlers.
  • Industrial IoT — Focus on industrial applications including asset tracking, infrastructure monitoring, remote equipment control, safety automation and security monitoring.
  • Agriculture technology — Trial smart agriculture or precision farming systems, including environmental monitoring, soil monitoring, plant health monitoring, actuator control and data collection for predictive breeding.

“The move to demonstrating 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 Wireless Broadband Alliance.

“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. A detailed analysis from these deployments will inform new deployment guides, helping wider industry to successfully roll out IoT solutions, without having to resort to proprietary or non-IP technologies to gain the automation, insights and business benefits that IoT promises to deliver,” Rodrigues added.

Wi-Fi HaLow’s features include operation in the sub-1 GHz radio band, the use of narrow channel bandwidths, an increased number of supported devices and new operating modes to accommodate battery-operated devices. It builds on the foundations of Wi-Fi, retaining such features as the most up-to-date levels of security and native-IP support inherent in all internet connectivity.

“The extensive capabilities and robust connectivity features of Wi-Fi HaLow elevate IoT to a heightened level, overcoming limitations imposed by older connectivity standards,” said Zac Freeman, Vice President of Marketing & Sales of Newracom.

“This technology enables the deployment of IoT solutions with unprecedented scope, fully realising the vision of smart services without constraints. We are genuinely enthusiastic about sharing the transformative influence of Wi-Fi HaLow in real-world scenarios.”

The WBA’s ‘Wi-Fi HaLow for IoT’ white paper gives an overview of the features, expected use cases and markets for Wi-Fi HaLow.

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