The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new low power, long range Wi-Fi standard called 'HaLow' that is designed for smart home applications, connected cars, health care, and industrial and smart city environments.
HaLow, which is also known as IEEE 802.11ah, uses the 900 MHz band to deliver Wi-Fi signals further and with greater wall penetrating power than other forms of the technology. The Wi-Fi Alliance says that HaLow achieves nearly twice the range of 802.11n and ac, which uses both the 2.4 GHz and 5.0 GHz bands.
802.11ah also has the advantage of using less power to both transmit and receive, making the standard more applicable to low-power applications like smart home sensors and wearables. A single HaLow access point will be capable of connecting to thousands of devices as well.
Where HaLow won't be as good as other forms of Wi-Fi is in bandwidth, which is due to the use of lower-frequency spectrum. However most devices that support 802.11ah will also be compatible with other Wi-Fi technology, allowing them to use the 2.4 and 5.0 GHz bands for increased performance where necessary.
With the HaLow standard now complete and approved by the Wi-Fi Alliance, it won't be too long until we see routers and devices that support the technology. Many embedded devices currently use Bluetooth and other low-power standards for connectivity, but the long-range nature of HaLow might convince engineers to make the switch.