Next-generation Wi-Fi smart home devices could have a range of over a kilometer

Ry Crist / CNET

With the promise of a wall penetration range exceeding 1 kilometer, the Wi-Fi Alliance this month announced certification for Wi-Fi HaLow, a new feature that supports long-range Wi-Fi transmissions and low power consumption on the spectrum below 1 GHz. . The feature is aimed directly at smart home gadgets, with the number of cloud-connected devices worldwide expected to reach over 30 billion by 2025, more than double the 13.8 billion IoT devices in use today.

This is good news for smart home sensors, security cameras and industrial or agricultural IoT gadgets, says Edgar Figueroa, president and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance, and good news for Wi-Fi as well, especially since new standards such as Amazon sidewalk and Question seek to gain relevance in the category of smart homes.

“Wi-Fi Certified HaLow further expands Wi-Fi’s leadership role in IoT to address a new range of secure and interoperable use cases that require longer range and less power,” Figueroa said in a press release. “There are more and more opportunities to streamline connectivity in the growing IoT market, and Wi-Fi HaLow is building on a universally recognized Wi-Fi foundation to pave the way for emerging IoT applications in the world. benefit homes, businesses and industries. “

Wi-Fi Alliance

Wi-Fi HaLow’s claims for longer range and lower power consumption stem from the fact that it sends signals at frequencies below 1 GHz, which is much lower than the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. that most home Wi-Fi networks use to bring devices online. While higher frequencies are better for moving massive amounts of data, lower frequencies provide much better range, making the spectrum below 1 GHz a seemingly good fit for sensors and other devices that may need ‘send tiny bits of data over a Wi-Fi network. Wide area network.

Additionally, Wi-Fi HaLow could be a boon to battery life, with the Wi-Fi Alliance promising “low-power connectivity necessary for applications such as sensors, personal portable devices, and service meters. that require battery operation for several years ”.

“Wi-Fi HaLow adopts existing Wi-Fi protocols to deliver many of the benefits consumers have come to expect from Wi-Fi, including multi-vendor interoperability, WPA3 security, easy configuration, and seamless integration into IP networks.” , the Wi-Fi HaLow -Fi Alliance adds in its press release announcing the certification of HaLow.


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HaLow isn’t the only new wireless standard to promise a big boost to range. There’s also Amazon Sidewalk, a low-power IoT network that launched earlier this year and which relies on a combination of Bluetooth and LoRa signals with low power consumption. In this case, the devices need their own LoRa radios in order to take advantage of the long range connections.

With HaLow Wi-Fi, devices only need a standardized Wi-Fi chipset that supports the protocol, and those are expected to arrive soon. Analysts note that HaLow Wi-Fi devices are already operational in the industrial sector – and they expect adoption to spread rapidly in residential and commercial environments in 2022.

“HaLow Wi-Fi devices such as security cameras and tablets are used in industrial environments today, and we expect devices to soon find their way into smart home environments for consumers to take advantage of. for its longer range and lower power for applications such as battery powered cameras, video baby monitors and other smart home products, ”said Phil Solis, research director at IDC. “Companies have been working on HaLow Wi-Fi chipsets for years and we forecast shipments to exceed 10 million by 2022 as adoption shifts from industrial to smart home, smart city and retail markets. by retail.


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