The device, which is housed in a chip smaller than a grain of rice, enables Internet of Things (IoT) devices to communicate with existing Wi-Fi networks using 5,000 times less power than todays Wi-Fi radios. It consumes just 28 microwatts of power.
The WiFi alliance has recently developed “WiFi HaLow,” which is based on the IEEE 802.11ah standard. It consumes lower power than a traditional WiFi device and also has a longer range. This is why this protocol is suitable for Internet of Things applications. The range of WiFi HaLow is nearly twice that of traditional WiFi.
Like other WiFi devices, devices supporting WiFi HaLow also support IP connectivity, which is important for IoT applications. Let us look at the specifications of the IEEE 802.11ah standard [66, 67]. This standard was developed to deal with wireless sensor network scenarios, where devices are energy constrained and require relatively long range communication. IEEE 802.11ah operates in the sub-gigahertz band (900 MHz). Because of the relatively lower frequency, the range is longer since higher frequency waves suffer from higher attenuation. We can extend the range (currently 1 km) by lowering the frequency further; however, the data rate will also be lower and thus the tradeoff is not justified. IEEE 802.11ah is also designed to support large star shaped networks, where a lot of stations are connected to a single access point.