HaLow: A Great Pull for IOT Evolution

IOT

The change comes with friction and friction needs lubrication. IOT being a revolutionary concept is dealing with many goal pushing problems- connectivity is one of them. IOT in action would rise the number of small, smart and wearable devices that will need more penetrating connectivity that can reach them wherever they are, behind thick walls or on the move which is beyond the capacity of traditional WiFi connections. HaLow can afford that and much beyond.

An Introduction to HaLow

HaLow is the natural immediate step in the evolution of IOT. The IP address for everything has always been the mantra for IOT, and HaLow that is schemed to connect numerous devices, afar from each other using low power, complements the requirement of IOT evolution and hence has the capacity to exponentially progress the trend.
It is the latest specification from the Wi-Fi Alliance that facilitates battery-operated IP devices that WORK. This subtle expansion of Wi-Fi connectivity has been the prime goal of IOT development since long time, which is foreseen to be achieved through HaLow. IP devices enable us to overcome one of the major barriers to entry for the Smart Home.

Why Exclusively HaLow?

Re- Revised HaLow-01

Wi-Fi and Internet of Things have never made good mates. Wi-Fi’s strengths—long range, high bandwidth—are overshadowed by its one major deficit: high power consumption. HaLow in the contrary won that battle too with many other features:

  1. HaLow extends a flavor of Wi-Fi into the 900 MHz band, which provides greater range than the pre-existing 2.4 GHz standard, provides better connectivity through barriers such as walls and promises extensibility in the development of the low-power Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as Smart Home sensors and wearables.
  2. The need for physical-layer protocol bridges and gateways, and the upfront costs associated with them (in terms of price, simplicity and usability), has long been a sticking point for retailers, service providers and consumers alike. HaLow offers the promise of removing a bridging device, once the manufacturers’ consumer network equipment include the HaLow capability in their product lines.
  3. HaLow promises to optimize battery life in 900 MHz-connected devices not tethered to real power supplies.

Why to be optimistic about HaLow as a futuristic technology?

  1. Change in technology, but no change in devices- Developers would be happy to see no notable difference between IP devices and HaLow devices.
  2. IP-based communication is the most reliable and widely proliferated communication network protocol in the world.
  3. Mass-market wireless router companies constantly evolve their technology to support the latest IEEE standards for IP-based communication. This trend could continue with HaLow.
  4. 802.11 ah radio prices will quickly fall down after mass- market adoption, converting it into most tempting choice for building a new “thing”.

Few Friendly Tips:

  1. HaLow promises to work with less consumption of power, but there is a sweet spot between power and responsiveness that has been elusive in the industry and it remains to be seen how HaLow implementations will strike that balance.
  2. Single problem may have numerous solutions. Similarly, it is hard to find a common dictionary to find like devices operating in a uniform way. HaLow does not seem to have data model to enable this. Till now, it seems to be a reliable way to enhance the communication over IP for low power devices, but that doesn’t address larger IoT interoperability issues.
  3. Though the change in technology is very well welcomed these days still, there is always a place for doubt that says adoption of HaLow may take some time. Without the critical amount of devices using HaLow, its sense may not be apparent.
  4. There are more and more products today using flavors of connection technology that do not have IP in their names — ZigBee, Z-Wave, Bluetooth, INSTEON, etc. That’s an awfully crowded field of non-HaLow products already in operation, and they aren’t just going to disappear overnight.

Conclusion

In spite of all these cautions and hitches, advent of HaLow is intriguing. It is a smart step in the direction to make the concept of IOT omnipotent. It would also help existing technology widen its scope and capacity through connecting anything and everything through common worldwide standard, just like our televisions, laptops, phones and tablets are today — the importance of which cannot be understated as IOT evolves.
While HaLow is now official, the Wi-Fi Alliance doesn’t expect to begin certifying products that use it until 2018. But devices will be out later this year. We’ll soon see how robust and useful Wi-Fi HaLow really is.