So What’s All This HaLow Long-Range WiFi About Then?

We’re all used to wireless networking, but if there’s one thing the ubiquitous WiFi on 2.4 or 5 GHz lacks, it’s range. Inside buildings, it will be stopped in its tracks by anything more than a mediocre wall, and outside, it can be difficult to connect at any useful rate more than a few tens of metres away without resorting to directional antennas and hope. Technologies such as LoRa provide a much longer range at the expense of minuscule bandwidth, but beyond that, there has been little joy. As [Andreas Spiess] points out in a recent video though, this is about to change, as devices using the so-called HaLow or IEEE 802.11ah protocol are starting to edge into the realm of affordability.

Perhaps surprisingly, he finds the 5 GHz variant to be best over a 1km test with a far higher bandwidth. However, we’d say that his use of directional antennas is something of a cheat. Where it does come into its own in his tests, though, is through masonry, with far better penetration across floors of a building. We think that this will translate to better outdoor performance when the line of sight is obstructed.

There’s one more thing he brings to our attention, which seasoned users of LoRA may already be aware of. These lower frequency allocations are different between the USA and Europe, so should you order one for yourself, it would make sense to ensure you have the appropriate model for your continent. Otherwise, we look forward to more HaLow devices appearing and the price falling even further because we think this will lead to some good work in future projects.

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