If you haven’t already been hearing chatter about Wi-Fi HaLow among industry pros, you will be soon. A next-generation spectrum of Wi-Fi, HaLow recently received certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance and could soon begin making appearances in real-world applications.

What is Wi-Fi HaLow? What makes it so special? Here’s a quick overview of everything you need to know.

What is WiFi HaLow?

Unlike the Wi-Fi standards in use today, which operate on either the 2.4GHz or 5GHz spectrums and are capable of delivering large amounts of data at high speed, Wi-Fi HaLow works in the sub-1GHz spectrum.

This means HaLow uses a longer wavelength than 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi, enabling it to transmit a stronger signal over much longer ranges (up to 1 kilometre) and connect to far more devices (perhaps 1,000 times the number of traditional Wi-Fi).

What’s more, because of HaLow’s use of lower frequencies, it offers superior signal penetration and better energy efficiency than traditional Wi-Fi. These are among the many notable weaknesses in current Wi-Fi networks that have given structured wiring solutions the edge. However, it remains to be seen if this new standard can pose a serious challenge.

What kind of real-world applications is Wi-Fi HaLow best suited for? 

With its high connectivity range, ability to support thousands of connected devices, low-power demands, and superior signal penetration, Wi-Fi HaLow is best positioned to support large networks of IoT devices.

Each Wi-Fi HaLow access point can reportedly support more than 8,000 connected devices at once, making this a highly scalable solution for large commercial and industry enterprises. Consider a setting like a commercial farm, with a large network of IoT-connected smart locks, cameras, sensors and other devices—all of which could be operating on a single Wi-Fi HaLow access point.

When will Wi-Fi HaLow be available?

Wi-Fi HaLow was first introduced by the Wi-Fi Alliance in 2016, allowing device manufacturers time to incorporate the standard and bring HaLow-enabled devices to market. Earlier this year the Alliance certified Wi-Fi HaLow, setting 2022 up to be the year we’ll see the first HaLow supported devices arrive in real-world settings.

HaLow is widely expected to first find application in industrial and commercial settings, before making its way into smart homes.

How will WiFi HaLow impact integrators and electrical contractors?

As awareness and adoption of Wi-Fi HaLow grows, integrators and electrical contractors will need to adapt and incorporate HaLow into their offerings—especially if they want to continue supporting large industrial and commercial customers.

FTTP and carefully planned structured wiring installations, however, will remain as important as ever. This is true for industrial, commercial, and residential settings alike.

While Wi-Fi HaLow offers longer ranges and a higher volume of connected devices, it can’t equal the ultra-high speeds of fiber optic connections or even those offered by traditional Wi-Fi. In all settings, carefully planned access to high-speed internet will remain as important as ever.