How the IoT is Affecting Wi-Fi

October 18, 2018 at 8:00 AM


In today’s society, Wi-Fi has become something that people now expect to be readily available and depend on to carry out everyday tasks. With the rollout of the Internet of Things (IoT), people will soon become accustomed to having all of their things connected as well. But with all of those connected devices, can Wi-Fi handle an even greater influx of user demand for high-speed connectivity? Here, we’ll take a look at how the IoT is affecting Wi-Fi.


When it comes to connectivity requirements, each IoT application can have a different set of range, data throughput and energy efficiency needs. Some IoT devices only need small, intermittent data transfers, such as utility meters. While some need a constant stream of data, such as live surveillance cameras. Also, range can differentiate from very short for wearables, to spanning miles for weather and agricultural sensor applications. But there are two things that are constants for all IoT applications: the need for remote power and constant connectivity.


To fulfill this need, Wi-Fi is the obvious choice because Wi-Fi coverage is so widespread, but standard Wi-Fi is not always the best choice for IoT applications. Thus, there are several standards that have emerged from the need for IoT connectivity. These include LoRaWAN, multiple short range communications standards and new Wi-Fi standards such as HaLow (802.11ah) and HEW (802.11ax).


The 802.11ah standard was introduced to address the range and power needs of the IoT. It utilizes the 900 MHz frequency band to provide extended range, covering a one kilometer radius, lower power requirements, wake/sleep periods and station grouping options.


The 802.11ax standard also includes the wake/sleep and station grouping features, and has a MU-MIMO feature that allows up to 18 users to simultaneously send data within a 40 MHz channel when paired with the smaller subcarrier spacing. Internet service providers and technology startups have also begun developing an application layer that includes mesh networks that use sets of routers to work together and extend wireless coverage, and provisioning tactics that define how wireless devices connect to networks.


There is some fear that the IoT could essentially break Wi-Fi, but there seems to be plenty of development activity focused around finding solutions to Wi-Fi congestion before it becomes a problem. With all of the IoT devices expected to be connecting in the near future, there will likely be a significant shift in Wi-Fi practices and standards, but as with everything in the world of technology, being able to pivot and reconfigure is the name of the game.


Standards Showdown: 802.11 Standards Side-by-Side

July 20, 2017 at 8:00 AM


The IEEE is almost always working on another new amendment to the 802.11 Wi-Fi standard. We now have nearly as many 802.11 standards as there are letters in the alphabet, and keeping them straight can get confusing. Fortunately, we’ve compiled a comprehensive list of all of the 802.11 standards, old and new, for easy reference. 


HaLow Wi-Fi for the IoT

April 13, 2017 at 8:00 AM


The Internet of Things (IoT) might have found a saving grace for keeping all of those “things” connected. HaLow Wi-Fi, pronounced like halo (hay-low), is coming to scene with a list of virtues p

erfect for smart homes, smart cars, smart cities, and even healthcare, industrial, retail and agriculture.


Generally, we’re used to Wi-Fi aiming to achieve lightning fast speeds with the ability to move large amounts of data.  But with IoT devices, there’s no need for super-speeds and the amount of data being transmitted is typically small.  The real need of the IoT is for devices to remain connected wherever they are without dwindling power supplies or depending on cellular data. 


HaLow Wi-Fi is slated to offer double the coverage range of traditional Wi-Fi while lowering power consumption. This would not only set it apart from other Wi-Fi standards, but also make it ideal for many IoT applications. Thus, the Wi-Fi Alliance is hoping HaLow will replace cellular networks in smart cities and Bluetooth radios in wearable devices.


HaLow is an extension of the IEEE 802.11ah standard and uses the 900 MHz bandwidth instead of the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bands. The 900 MHz band is a low-frequency workhorse usually reserved for microwaves ovens and baby monitors. By using this robust frequency for Wi-Fi, the signal is able to reach further and penetrate objects and obstacles without dwindling the device’s power supply – many of which run solely on batteries.


Reported data rates for Halow are between 150 kilobits and 18 megabits per second. This is significantly less than traditional Wi-Fi rates, but speed is not the focus in this case. For the IoT,  power consumption, reliability and distance are the priority. The HaLow standard will be official next year and might be exactly the  divine intervention needed for the IoT.


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That’s a Wrap: Our Top Posts of 2015

December 24, 2015 at 8:00 AM


As another year comes to a close, so does another chapter of our blog, the Engineering Hub. The purpose of this blog is to keep you in the loop with what is going on in the world of wired and wireless technology. With that purpose in mind, here is a recap of what was trending with our readers in 2015.


And the winners are……………



1.       Look out ZigBee here comes 802.11ah


This year the IEEE worked towards finalizing the new 802.11ah standard, an exciting development in the world of wireless sensor networking and strong competition for ZigBee technology.  This post discusses all of the benefits of 802.11ah and what it means for the world of wireless networking technology.  (Read more)




2.       Breaking the sound barrier with 802.11ax

If you thought 802.11ac was cool with its 1 Gbps speeds and MU-MIMO capabilities, 802.11ax will blow your mind. This next iteration in high performance Wi-Fi connectivity promises accelerated performance and is projected to make its debut in 2019. (Read more)



3.       Cat6a… your path to 10 gig over copper

The path to 10 Gbps is now paved with copper! Cat6a cables, couplers and adapters can transmit at speeds of up to 10 Gigabits per second! Check out this post to see how Cat6a compares to Cat6 and fiber cabling, and take a look at what it can do for your network.  (Read more)




4.       Six Facts you need to know about 802.11ac wave2

The next surge of 802.11 technology is upon us with the launch of 802.11ac Wave 2.  This latest version of the 802.11 standard addresses challenges facing the Wi-Fi industry by building upon 802.11ac Wave 1.  Here, we present 6 facts you should know about 802.11ac Wave 2.

(Read more)




5.       Industrial Ethernet networks, what you need to know

Test your knowledge and get answers to all of your questions about Industrial Ethernet networks with this blog post. Our Industrial Ethernet white paper explores the benefits and advantages of Industrial Ethernet, and explains how Industrial Ethernet has evolved into a wide-spread technology that is implemented all over the world. (Read more)

Look Out ZigBee, Here Comes 802.11ah

April 23, 2015 at 10:00 AM


This year the IEEE will be finalizing the new 802.11ah standard, an exciting development in the world of wireless sensor networking, and strong competition for ZigBee technology.


With the benefits of extended signal range, power efficiency and scalability, 802.11ah promises to expand the range of Wi-Fi connectivity, as well as expand the competitive marketplace of wireless networking technologies.


By operating on the 900 MHz frequency band, 802.11ah will be able to better penetrate walls and other obstructions offering longer distance reach than 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz Wi-Fi frequencies.


Additionally, 802.11ah will work with moderately low cost battery powered sensors, which will support IoT applications. Data rates will range from 150 Kbps to 40 Mbps and limited on-time for sensors will increase battery life and power efficiency. 


Sensor networking is expected to be the primary use of 802.11ah.  Other future applications are to include smart-home and extended reach home Wi-Fi networks, industrial automation sensor networks, commercial network applications and wearable devices.


Full standardization is scheduled for early 2016.


As 802.11ah is launched, L-com will be there to support you with our wide selection of high quality 900 MHz antennas, 900 MHz RF Amplifiers, and 900 MHz splitters and filters.



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