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New Wi-Fi standard expected to boost IoT industry

The Wi-Fi Alliance has approved Wi-Fi HaLow, a new industry standard that extends Wi-Fi into the 900 MHz frequency band.

HaLow will provide greater range and reduced energy consumption compared with the 2.4GHz Wi-Fi standard, which could prove crucial for the growth of the Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things has long been predicted to revolutionise many industries, but so far the technology has struggled to achieve mainstream adoption. Part of the problem is that the existing Wi-Fi standard has high power consumption and limited range, which severely impacts the connectivity at the heart of IoT solutions. The 900MHz band, however, has twice the range of 2.4GHz Wi-Fi and more effective wall penetration.

However, HaLow will broadly adopt existing Wi-Fi protocols, such as robust security, ease of setup and multi-vendor interoperability. For consumers, the approval of HaLow could see many more IoT devices hit the market, and the Wi-Fi Alliance is expecting a variety of industries to take advantage of the new connectivity standard.

“Wi-Fi HaLow will enable a variety of new power-efficient use cases in the Smart Home, connected car, and digital healthcare, as well as industrial, retail, agriculture, and Smart City environments,” the group claims.

However, HaLow certified products are not scheduled for approval until sometime in 2018, so there may be yet more delays before consumers can truly embrace connected devices. If HaLow does prove popular, however, it could mean fewer products using Bluetooth as a low-energy method for transmitting data.

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