The Wi-Fi Alliance has announced a new Wi-Fi solution that offers a greater range while using less power. The new 802.11ah standard, dubbed HaLow, operates on the unlicensed 900MHz band, boasting twice the range of the 2.4GHz standard, and offers greater wall penetration. It is hoped that HaLow will power the next generation of IoT (internet of things) devices, since it will require less power of its devices, while able to transmit across larger distances.
“Wi-Fi HaLow extends Wi-Fi into the 900MHz band, enabling the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensor and wearables,” the announcement on the Wi-Fi Alliance website reads. “Wi-Fi HaLow’s range is nearly twice that of today’s Wi-Fi, and will not only be capable of transmitting signals further, but also providing a more robust connection in challenging environments where the ability to more easily penetrate walls or other barriers is an important consideration.”
“Wi-Fi HaLow will broadly adopt Wi-Fi protocols and deliver many of the benefits that consumers have come to expect from Wi-Fi today, including multi-vendor interoperability, strong government-grade security, and easy setup,” the statement adds.
“Wi-Fi HaLow is well suited to meet the unique needs of the Smart Home, Smart City, and industrial markets because of its ability to operate using very low power, penetrate through walls, and operate at significantly longer ranges than Wi-Fi today,” Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of Wi-Fi Alliance, said at CES 2016 during the reveal of HaLow. “Wi-Fi HaLow expands the unmatched versatility of Wi-Fi to enable applications from small, battery-operated wearable devices to large-scale industrial facility deployments – and everything in between.”
Up until now, Wi-Fi devices on your smartphones were able to connect to saved access points and act as a means of connecting you to the Internet. Sure, there are some apps that let you stream over Wi-Fi, but essentially it was not used to its full potential.
The Wi-Fi Alliance now came up with a new technology by the name of Wi-Fi Aware, which lets your smartphone do even more with its wireless power. The tech is said to allow your smartphone to communicate with nearby devices and exchange information. Think of it as a heartbeat, letting devices know it is present in the vicinity and gathering what other devices have to ‘say’ if they are near you.
Wi-Fi Aware is an alternative to low-powered Bluetooth connectivity and yes, this means it’s even better at saving power than just having your Wi-Fi always on. So how can this help you? It’s simple. Let’s say you have something you like on Facebook and can find in a store. Once you enter a mall and a store has the items you want on sale, Wi-Fi Aware will send you a notification about it once you get near the store. Have a friend you haven’t seen in a long time? No problem. If he is in town and near you, Wi-Fi Aware will tell you and ask if you would like to send him a direct message.
Essentially, Wi-Fi Aware is a smart way of keeping aware of what is near and of interest to you. This means that all information received is tailored to you specifically based on your interests, so it won’t tell you about what shoes are on sale early in the morning when all you want to know is where you can get the best deal on coffee.
We are not aware of any Wi-Fi Aware-enabled apps at the moment, but Wi-Fi Alliance officials say that the tech could land in social media applications such as Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn sooner than expected.
Thank you TechCrunch for providing us with this information