Wireless Broadband Alliance reveals Wi-Fi HaLow phase two

by Pelican Press
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Wireless Broadband Alliance reveals Wi-Fi HaLow phase two

Having announced in January the initial real-world commercial deployments of products using the new wireless communications standard, Wi-Fi trade association the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has announced its Wi-Fi HaLow programme has moved into a new phase with the successful completion of phase two field trials.

Wi-Fi Certified HaLow, the designation for certified products incorporating IEEE 802.11ah technology, is designed to augment Wi-Fi by operating in spectrum below 1 gigahertz (GHz) to offer longer range and lower power connectivity. It’s also intended to enable the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensor networks and wearables.

Its range is longer than many other internet of things (IoT) technology options, and its proponents believe it will provide a more robust connection in challenging environments where the ability to penetrate walls or other barriers is an important consideration.

In addition, Wi-Fi HaLow is built to deliver extended battery life, enhanced device density, minimised end-to-end delay, a higher level of security, ease of installation and management, and elevated data throughput in IoT scenarios. Wi-Fi HaLow also sees the use of narrow channel bandwidths, an increased number of supported devices and new operating modes to accommodate battery-operated devices.

The trials took place in North America, conducted by WBA and its members, including partners including Morse Micro, Newracom, and Methods2Business, alongside participants such as AT&T, Charter Communications, Nextcomm Systems, and Qualcomm.

According to a report on the process, focusing on larger-scale implementations and testing Wi-Fi HaLow in more challenging environments, the trails are said to have proven the scalability and efficiency of Wi-Fi HaLow in what were described as challenging environments such as dense urban settings and large industrial complexes.

The phase two field trial use cases were smart home, warehousing, smart farm, smart city, smart office building, smart school campus and smart industrial complex. A range of benefits are said to have been proven in each of the use cases including extended ranges, improved material penetration capabilities, extended battery life, enhanced device density, a higher level of security, ease of installation and management, and elevated data throughput in IoT scenarios when compared with existing Wi-Fi standards.

For smart home, CableLabs’ Kyrio conducted a trial demonstrating Wi-Fi HaLow’s capabilities within a 5,000 sq ft home and across a three-acre lot, a collaboration involving Methods2Business, Morse Micro and Newracom. The trial is said to have successfully used a single access point to deliver robust and secure Wi-Fi coverage throughout the property, eliminating the need for additional repeaters.

In a trial at Scott Farm Market and Greenhouse in Kent, Ohio, teamed up by Newracom and Morse Micro, Wi-Fi HaLow technology demonstrated coverage and performance over a 14-acre agricultural site, addressing challenges such as extensive area coverage and penetration through various structures. The setup included a single Wi-Fi HaLow access point (AP) and multiple IoT devices, achieving data rates from 1.3 Mbps at the most challenging points to 22 Mbps near the AP.

In a smart city trial conducted in Irvine, California, Wi-Fi HaLow demonstrated its potential for extensive urban connectivity. Utilising equipment from Newracom, Morse Micro and Methods2Business, the technology achieved coverage over a kilometre radius and up to 1.5 miles along Irvine Center Drive.

The trial is said to have demonstrated strong signal strength capable of supporting high modulation and coding schemes, with PHY rates up to 3.34 Mbps.

The Wi-Fi HaLow trial in the smart office building use case at the Newracom Office Park in Irvine, California, demonstrated the technology’s deployment for smart building services with minimal infrastructural enhancements.

Tiago Rodrigues, CEO of the Wireless Broadband Alliance, said: “Each of these real-world field trials has been a huge success demonstrating the readiness and the benefits Wi-Fi HaLow standard can bring to a vast range of industries and use cases, improving performance and reducing complexity. We now move to the next phase and are inviting industry players interested in participating in trials across EMEA and APAC to reach out. Your participation can help shape the future of IoT connectivity and drive innovation across various sectors.”

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