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What is Wi-Fi HaLow? Article by microcontrollertips.com

Two part series of articles by microcontrollertips.com on Wi-Fi HaLow technology and major players in this field.


What is HaLow?

In 2017 the wireless networking standard IEEE 802.11ah, also called Wi-Fi HaLow (pronounced “HAY-Low”), was released. HaLow uses the 900 MHz industrial, scientific and medical (ISM) unlicensed bands to extend the Wi-Fi range. The Wi-Fi Alliance supports the HaLow standard.


The Wi-Fi (802.11 a/b/g/n) range most people are familiar with operates at either 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz. At these frequencies, the radio waves do not travel as far as waves at the lower frequencies do. At 2.4 GHz, the waves can travel less than 259 m (820 feet). LPWAN can typically reach between 1 km to 10 km. In addition, obstacles like walls and doors within a building can block higher-frequency waves (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz). As shown in Figure 1, the Wi-Fi HaLow operating range spans 1 MHz to 16 MHz channels. The 1 MHz channel waves travel farther, while the 16 MHz channel provides higher data transmission rates. Using the 16 MHz channel, a top speed of 80 Mbps can be achieved.


Figure 1. The Wi-Fi HaLow operates in the sub-1 GHz range using channels from 1 to 16 MHz. (Image: Wi-Fi Alliance white paper).


Part one of series focused on Wi-Fi HaLow technology can be found here.


Who are the major HaLow players?

A few silicon startups are taking the lead in Wi-Fi HaLow rather than the traditional major chipmakers. They include Morse Micro, Newracom, Methods2Business (an IP provider), and Palma Ceia SemiDesign (PCS). Companies that provide the Wi-Fi Halow modules include Morse Micro, Silex Technology, and Alfa Network.


What is the projected growth of HaLow?

According to ABI Research, a global tech market advisory firm, Wi-Fi HaLow is in the early stage of growth, with chipset shipments expected to grow from 4 million in 2021 to 34 million in 2026, at a CAGR of over 50%.


Part two of series focused on major players and future of Wi-Fi Halow can be found here.

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