imec and Wi-Fi IP provider Methods2Bussiness have presented a new radio solution aimed for a variety of IoT applications including Smart Home, Smart City, and industrial. “Based on new Wi-fi halow standard, the radio promises to offer significantly longer ranges than Wi-Fi today and at the same time uses 10 times less power than state-of-the-art orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) radios on the market.”
The new Wi-Fi radio overcomes the drawbacks of conventional Wi-Fi in IoT using a IEEE 802.11ah MAC core and claimed to be able to connect up to 8.000 IoT clients, improve collision avoidance in channel access mechanisms (CSMA/CA, DCF, EDCA), and increase throughput by supporting shorter MAC headers.
Wi-Fi HaLow complements existing Wi-Fi technologies, and is a designation given by Wi-Fi Alliance for the new low-power, long-range Wi-Fi protocol IEEE802.11a. Complying to the IEEE 802.11ah, the new radio solution is especially optimized for a broad range of IoT applications.
“Compared to other IoT standards, the solution’s sub-GHz carrier frequency and mandatory modes with 1MHz/2MHz channel bandwidths allow devices to operate over a longer range with scalable data rates from 150kb/s to 7.8Mb/s. The standard uses OFDM to improve the link robustness against fading, which is important in urban environments, and to achieve a high spectral efficiency (data rate over a given bandwidth)”, the researchers say.
The radio integrates imec and Holst Centre’s sub-1GHz IEEE 802.11ah transceiver and Methods2Business’ Medium Access Controller (MAC) hardware and software IP and application layer to enable 802.11ah communication between large numbers of IoT clients and the internet using a central access point.
The transceiver comprises a complete low-power physical layer implementation of RF front-end and digital baseband. It features a 1.3nJ/b fully digital polar transmitter optimized for IoT applications as well as for the novel IEEE 802.11ah Wi-Fi protocol. The transmitter surpasses the tight spectral mask and error-vector-magnitude (EVM) requirements of conventional Wi-Fi standards. It does so while demonstrating a power consumption rate as low as 7.1mW in Tx mode for 0dBm output power.
According to the announcement, the radio addresses the drawbacks of conventional Wi-Fi in IoT using the 802.11ah MAC core which implements all the new Wi-Fi HaLow functionality. It is claimed to be able to connect up to 8.000 IoT clients (Hierarchical AID), improve collision avoidance in channel access mechanisms (CSMA/CA, DCF, EDCA), and increase throughput by supporting shorter MAC headers.
Furthermore, the radio also supports very advanced power saving modes like Target Wake Time (TWT) and Restricted Access Window (RAW). To further trade-off power versus performance, time-critical functions are implemented in hardware while higher level MAC protocols are realized in software.
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