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F.A.Q.

Here’s what you need to know about Morse Micro, the Internet of Things, Wi-Fi HaLow and our technical solution.

What's the difference between “ordinary” Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi HaLow?

“Ordinary” Wi-Fi is designed to transfer data fast – enabling you to stream movies and download files quickly using wide channels of radio frequencies in the 2.4 GHz, 5 Ghz and 6 GHz bands. 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 1 GHz 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 offers many Mbps of data throughput. The international standard that describes Wi-Fi HaLow is IEEE 802.11ah.

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, adopted in 2016. It is a large document of around 600 pages which was added to the 1000+ pages of IEEE 802.11 wireless LAN standards. It defines all the exact details of how to transmit and receive data over the air. 802.11ah was defined purposefully for IoT applications to add capabilities such as lower power operation, longer distances, and higher density of devices. There are other legacy IEEE wireless LAN standards such as 802.11a, b, g, n, ac, ax, 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”, and is developing a certification program to test devices for compliance to IEEE802.11ah and other interoperability requirements. Other Wi-Fi brands, such as Wi-Fi 4, 5 or 6 refer to the IEEE 802.11 n/ac/ax technologies.

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 distance starts at approximately 150 kbps, and increases at shorter distances to over 80 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 1 GHz. The lower frequency signal travels farther, using less power, 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:

Narrower channels of radio frequencies below 1 Ghz 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 Smart Phone, Tablet, Smart Speaker device to connect with Wi-Fi HaLow devices?

Yes, Wi-Fi HaLow devices connect to the internet via a Wi-Fi HaLow router. Any device connected to the internet will be able to communicate with Wi-Fi HaLow devices in the same method as traditional Wi-Fi. Mobile Products with Wi-Fi HaLow capability could be designed to connect directly to IoT devices or in Peer-to-Peer connection with each other, across very long distances.

How can I find out more technical details?

Check out the following pages:

Technology for more detailed technical information about Wi-Fi HaLow and comparisons with other technologies; Product provide overview of key features supported by our latest Wi-Fi HaLow product family; Applications list typical Wi-Fi HaLow use cases where you can learn how Morse Micro’s Wi-Fi HaLow attributes benefit those applications;

If there are any additional questions, contact us for more info