HaLow is the new WiFi Standard
At the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES 2016) the WiFi Alliance has announced the release of a new WiFi standard. This will offer double the coverage of existing WiFi technology while using less power. The new band known as HaLow (pronounced “Halo”) will use 802.11 ah – a 900MHz frequency. This is a much lower frequency than the existing 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. While coverage will be greater, data speeds will not be. Since the frequency of the broadcast is so low, speeds will decrease the farther you are from the transmitter. Luckily enough, the new Halow WiFi standard will also utilize 2.4 and 5 GHz bands so 802.11ah devices will be interoperable with current WiFi equipment.
While the new WiFi standard might not be a good fit for standard networking, this is a huge gain for the internet of things (IoT). IoT devices are low power and only require short bursts of data but a reliable connection. The barrier for the IoT has been manufacturing gadgets like door locks, thermostats, connected bulbs, and cameras that need enough power to send data long distances to the router yet still be small and sleek. With the advent of HaLow, this will no longer be a barrier. According to an article by Rob Triggs, “The first HaLow certified devices will ship from 2018”. This will likely have a big impact on businesses like manufacturing, distribution, and logistics who already leverage the IoT.