Humans have lofty goals; they envision making Mars a habitable planet and seeking to link all forms of life on Earth. IoT was developed as a result of this obsession with interconnecting every possible object. The explosive development of the Internet of Things (IoT) has spurred significant changes in many technologies, including wireless networks. The question then becomes how the Wi-Fi business has changed to accommodate the need for secure wireless data transmissions among so many IoT gadgets. Wi-Fi HaLow (also known as IEEE 802.11ah), a Wi-Fi standard designed to efficiently satisfy the demanding requirements of IoT, is the answer.
What is Wi-Fi HaLow and Why it’s beneficial to IoT?
A low-power, wide-coverage variant of the original Wi-Fi standard, Wi-Fi HaLow (pronounced Hey-Low) allows for low-energy communication between a large number of Internet of Things devices spread out over a big area. IEEE debuted it in 2010, and on May 10, 2017, Wi-Fi Alliance made it public. Due to traditional Wi-Fi’s low effective range, high power requirements, and low maximum number of connected devices, this new standard was created. Each of these features is detrimental to the IoT and should be avoided at all costs. LoRaWAN Technology is another exciting wireless technology that is widely deployed in long-range Internet of Things gadgets.The following chart provides a comparison between regular Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi HaLow.
Internet of Things (IoT) proponents, on the other hand, praise the HaLow standard for its multiple access node support, large coverage area, and low power usage. The essential criteria for the viability of IoT connectivity and applications are met by these characteristics.
Most devices in an IoT network are sensors that operate on battery power. It is essential that network energy be stretched as far as feasible. For this reason, Wi-Fi HaLow implemented a novel method of channel access known as Restricted Access Window (RAW).RAW organizes the sensor nodes into clusters, and then allocates periods of time to each cluster, also known as RAW slots. A RAW slot is a period of time when a group is active and able to send and receive information. The sensor nodes go to sleep to conserve power when their allotted RAW slot expires. Consider “smart cities,” which typically feature hundreds of sensors for various purposes like clever parking, traffic management, electromagnetic field measurement, and garbage collection. The Internet of Things’s goal of making cities smarter and better places to reside could be derailed if the energy used by this large family of sensors is poorly managed.
Most commercially available Wi-Fi products today communicate in the ISM (Industrial, Scientific, and Medical) 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. Since nearly all modern devices support Wi-Fi, usage of these frequencies has reached capacity. Interference, data loss, and slow data rates are the inevitable outcomes of further spectrum congestion with IoT devices. According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, the HaLow standard utilizes carrier frequencies below 1 GHz in the ISM band, making use of the underutilized sub 1 GHz (S1G). Furthermore, its use of narrower networks allows for greater building penetration and a range that is up to 100 times greater than that of competing IoT technologies. As a result, even previously unreachable locations, such as cellars, garages, and expansive outdoor spaces, can now be brought online.
According to the Wi-Fi Alliance, there is no need for proprietary switches or hubs when using Wi-Fi HaLow because it uses a native IP design. The simplified and scalable nature of the system is a direct result of its native IP support. These merits are simply too vast to disregard.
Challenges Faced by Wi-Fi HaLow
The 802.11ah standard supports a variety of sub-1 GHz ISM bands in a variety of nations. The United States suggests backing sub-1 GHz channels with bandwidths of 1, 2, 4, 8, and 16 MHz. However, this is not optimal for countries like China, where most of the sub-1 MHz frequencies are already being used for TV broadcasting, and for others where the number of channels supported at 1 MHz is low. Wi-Fi HaLow products are challenging to manufacture because of the frequency differences between countries.
Applications of Wi-Fi HaLow
In 2021, the market is predicted to become unified thanks to.11ah-compliant chips and systems. Many of the biggest corporations in the world, including Qualcomm, Intel, Mediatek, Broadcom, LG, ZTE, and Samsung, have been developing this technology.
It is anticipated that the standard will be utilized in rural transmission due to its extensive coverage. To make possible the provision of E-Health and E-Learning in less-urbanized regions. For the greater good of humankind, this is all part of an effort to “connect the unconnected” and extend technological infrastructure to previously unreached areas. Because the standard permits more sensors to be linked per access point and has improved penetration through walls and obstructions, it also finds application in sensor networks.
This technology will be used for a wide variety of purposes, including but not limited to: cellular traffic off-loading, sensor network backhauls, smart homes, smart cities, battery-powered farm and environment sensors, surveillance systems, process control sensors, and many more.In IoT systems, the HaLow standard has many potential uses because it combines security, scalability, and energy efficiency.
Wi-Fi HaLow is essentially a variant of Wi-Fi that is better suited to Internet of Things use. It consumes less electricity, has a wider range, and can connect more devices to a single access point. We compared its features to those of conventional Wi-Fi, reviewed its design challenges and use cases, and explained why its adoption would benefit the Internet of Things. Need to ask something about this subject? Please share your thoughts by commenting below.