Wi-Fi HaLow is an extension of standard Wi-Fi that provides long-range and low consumption Wi-Fi connectivity targeting the internet of things.
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi HaLow is pronounced 'halo' and is set to be an extension of standard Wi-Fi 'IEEE 802.11ah'.
Wi-Fi HaLow is said to run frequencies below one gigahertz, providing lower powered connections and a longer range than the Wi-Fi in our homes.
Smart homes, cars, wearables and smart industries such as agriculture and retail are the main focus of Wi-Fi HaLow. With its low power consumption and dip into the 900 MHz band, Wi-Fi HaLow is ideal for applications that require sensors and receivers.
Wi-Fi HaLow nearly doubles the range of standard Wi-Fi connections and claims to provide a more robust connection, making travelling through walls and other objects easier.
President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, Edgar Figueroa said: "Wi-Fi HaLow expands the unmatched versatility of Wi-Fi to enable applications from small, battery-operated wearable devices to large-scale industrial facility deployments – and everything in between." [You might also like: What is Microservices?]
Wi-Fi HaLow vs Wi-Fi
Aside from the internet of things, Wi-Fi HaLow will still supply regular Wi-Fi devices and support existing 2.4 and 5GHz bands.
However, in figures released from the Wi-Fi Alliance, Wi-Fi HaLow's data transmissions does not match up to that of traditional Wi-Fi.
Wi-Fi HaLow's reported data transfer rate is between 150 kilobits per second and 18 megabits per second, which is considerably lower than standard Wi-Fi.
The initial thought is: 'how can such small data rates equip the internet of things?' Quite easily, it seems.
Internet of things devices that are battery operated, such as wearables or IoT sensors, that transmit only occasional short bursts of data will still be compatible with Wi-Fi HaLow. (See: What is the internet of things?)
Wi-Fi HaLow vs Li-Fi
Li-Fi uses common household LED (light emitting diodes) lightbulbs to enable data transfer and claims to be 100 times faster than traditional Wi-Fi. (See: What is Li-Fi?)
Li-Fi could rival Wi-Fi HaLow's punt for the internet of things market as it transfers data at much higher levels with even more devices able to connect to one another.
However Li-Fi signals cannot pass through walls, so in order to enjoy full connectivity, capable LED bulbs will need to be placed throughout the home. Also Li-Fi requires the lightbulb is on at all times to provide connectivity, meaning that the lights will need to be on during the day.
It's still very early days for Wi-Fi HaLow with no sign of seeing it in common use any time soon. Work is reportedly beginning in 2018, so we'll have to wait to find out if Wi-Fi HaLow will make it big.