What's the difference between “ordinary” Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi HaLow?
While "ordinary Wi-Fi" is designed to...
... transfer data fast – enabling you to stream movies and download files quickly using wide channels of radio frequencies around 2.4GHz and 5Ghz. The effective distances for these connections are short, and they drain batteries fast, requiring frequent charging or constant power. Wi-Fi HaLow uses narrower channels of radio frequencies under 1GHz with connections reaching up to 10 times farther. Wi-Fi HaLow is perfect for IoT devices which require more robust connections at farther distances, and can take advantage of new sleep modes that save power. Wi-Fi HaLow enables a new class of products that can run off batteries for years, and still offer many Mbps of bandwidth.
What is the difference between IEEE 802.11ah and Wi-Fi HaLow?
You may hear these terms used interchangeably, but...
...here is the difference: IEEE 802.11ah is a technical standard from the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. It is a large document of around 8000 pages which defines all the exact details of how to transmit and receive data over the air. It was defined purposefully for IoT applications.
There are other legacy IEEE wireless LAN standards such as 802.11a, b, g, n, ac, and so on. The Wi-Fi Alliance (WFA.org) was formed by vendors of chips and devices who wanted to ensure compatibility between various IEEE 802.11 products through objective testing and certification. “IEEE 802.11” was not a very consumer-friendly name, so the Wi-Fi Alliance branded the general technology as “Wi-Fi”. The Wi-Fi Alliance has created the brand “Wi-Fi HaLow(™)” for devices that will be certified as compliant to the IEEE 802.11ah standard.
How fast is Wi-Fi HaLow?
Wi-Fi HaLow’s data rates scale similarly to legacy Wi-Fi data rates, which means that...
...the closer you get to a router, the faster your connection gets. These “MCS rates” are defined by IEEE 802.11ah. The lowest speed at the farthest distances starts at approximately 150Kbps, and increases at shorter distances to over 70 Mbps for single-stream devices. Similar to legacy Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi HaLow data rates can be automatically managed between the AP and device.
What makes Wi-Fi HaLow reach farther than conventional Wi-Fi?
Conventional Wi-Fi operates in the 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio bands. Wi-Fi HaLow however...
...operates in bands below 1GHz. The lower frequency travels farther and passes through objects better. Wi-Fi HaLow also operates with narrow channels than conventional Wi-Fi. The lower radio band and narrower channels mean that Wi-Fi HaLow travels 10 times farther.
How does Wi-Fi HaLow save power?
There are several key features of Wi-Fi HaLow that save power compared to legacy Wi-Fi and other PAN, LAN and WAN technologies:
~ Using narrower channels of radio frequencies below 1Ghz travel farther and penetrate through building materials much better at lower power for Wi-Fi HaLow than legacy Wi-Fi or other technologies using 2.4GHz.
~ Multiple sleep modes allow HaLow sensors to conserve battery power without having to listen for frequent beacons, or to relay other device traffic used in mesh networks.
~ Listen-before-talk access scheme prevents unnecessary retransmissions due to collisions with other sensors.
How many devices can connect to one base station?
One base station, or Access Point, can service up to 8191 nodes or client devices, which are also referred to as stations.
Will I be able to use my existing iPhone / iPad / Alexa to connect with Wi-Fi HaLow devices?
Yes, Wi-Fi HaLow devices connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi router. Any device connected to the internet will be able to communicate with your Wi-Fi HaLow device.
How can I find out more technical details?
Check out the following pages.
Solutions and Reports for more detailed technical information about Wi-Fi HaLow, its use cases and comparisons with other technologies.
A full datasheet is available to select customers upon request here - please provide some context as to what information you are looking for. Just want to say “Hi”? Also fine. We are looking forward hearing from you through our contact form.