In a move that could provide a boost to its ambition of enabling internet of things (IoT) use cases in industrial, agricultural, smart building and smart city environments, Wi-Fi trade association the Wireless Broadband Alliance (WBA) has announced that its Wi-Fi HaLow for IoT programme has moved into a new phase, showcasing solutions in real-world use cases.
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 is also intended to enable the low power connectivity necessary for applications including sensor networks and wearables.
Its range is longer than many other IoT technology options and its proponents believe that 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.
Over the course of the coming months, the WBA’s project team will test the use cases and applications to demonstrate the benefits and performance Wi-Fi HaLow has in the real world, including understanding crucial metrics such as coverage areas, data rates, throughput, and signal reliability.
A detailed analysis from the trials will inform new deployment guides, helping the wider industry to successfully roll out IoT solutions, without having to resort to proprietary or non-IP technologies to gain the automation, insights and business benefits that IoT promises to deliver.
WBA believes that the new commercial deployments will demonstrate how Wi-Fi HaLow extends the benefits of Wi-Fi into more IoT applications where unique technical challenges must be overcome to realise the business benefits. These applications include a range of including smart home, smart city, building automation, smart retail, industrial IoT and agriculture technology.
Smart home tests will evaluate Wi-Fi HaLow against traditional Wi-Fi in security cameras, HVAC, appliances, detached garage connections, solar power systems, power backup generators, and EV chargers.
In the realm of smart city, the focus will be on infrastructure monitoring, smart utilities, and traffic management to highlight wider coverage benefits, high data throughput, increased device density, and low-cost maintenance. Smart building automation will conduct testing to support smart building applications such as physical security, surveillance, access control, safety alarms, and water sensors.
The smart retail assessment will aim to showcase how Wi-Fi HaLow enhances consumer satisfaction and increases productivity for retailers and partners. It will cover scanners, readers, point-of-sale equipment, asset tracking, security monitoring, warehouse robots, and handlers.
Industrial IoT will focus on testing industrial applications including asset tracking, infrastructure monitoring, remote equipment control, safety automation, and security monitoring.
Trials in smart agriculture or precision farming systems will include environmental monitoring, soil monitoring, plant health monitoring, actuator control, and data collection for predictive breeding.
Commenting on the project and the prospects for the new wireless standard, Wireless Broadband Alliance CEO Tiago Rodrigues said that the move to demonstrating Wi-Fi HaLow in real-world scenarios was an important milestone for the WBA and the contributing industry members supporting these activities.
“Each scenario will highlight how Wi-Fi HaLow solves connectivity problems, which previously may have required non-standard RF radio technology, or incurred higher costs of ownership,” he said.
“A detailed analysis from these deployments will inform new deployment guides, helping wider industry to successfully roll out IoT solutions, without having to resort to proprietary or non-IP technologies to gain the automation, insights and business benefits that IoT promises to deliver.”
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