There’s a good chance you use WiFi to connect your phone, tablet, or computer to the internet… and to other phones, tablets, and computers on your home or work network. But right now a lot of low-power wearables, smart home products, and other “Internet of Things” devices rely on Bluetooth or other technologies.

The Wi-Fi Alliance wants to change that, and the company has unveiled plans for a new standard called WiFi HaLow which the group says will use less power and offer longer-range connections than existing technology.

wifi alliance

WiFi HaLow will be part of the upcoming 802.11ah standard, and it will use the 900 MHz band, which helps signal travel about twice as far as today’s WiFi. This should allow your smart devices to be spaced further apart while maintaining a reliable connection.

To compete with Bluetooth, WiFi HaLow also needs to have low power consumption, and the Wi-Fi Alliance says it does… but details are pretty scarce right now. That’s not surprising though, since it’ll probably be at least two years before we start to see any 802.11ah/HaLow-compatible products.

It all sounds pretty good on paper, but is there a catch? Kind of. HaLow connections won’t be as fast as other WiFi connections. But that’s probably OK, since it’s not really designed to replace existing WiFi technologies, but rather to complement them.

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