Research institute Imec have, working together with Holst Centre and Methods2Business, developed a Wifi radio solution that has a large range and 10 times lower current consumption than OFDM (orthogonal frequency division multiplexing) solutions and which is therefore eminently suitable for IoT related applications.

The module complies with the IEEE 802.11ah standard, a standard that was introduced recently by the Wi-Fi Alliance, and has also been called HaLow. In comparison with other IoT standards, the sub-GHz carrier and the mandatory 1 and 2 MHz channel bandwidths make a larger range possible with scalable data speeds from 150 kb/s to 7.8 Mb/s. The new standard uses OFDM to improve the link quality, which is particularly important in urban areas.

In the module, a sub-1GHz-IEEE-802.11ah transceiver from Imec and Holst Centre works in combination with a Medium Access Controller from Methods2Business to allow up to 8000 IoT devices to be connected together. To accomplish this, advanced technologies are used, such as CSMA/CA, DCF, EDCA, Target Wake Time (TWT) and Restricted Access Window (RAW). Time-critical functions have been implemented in hardware, while the higher MAC protocols are dealt with in software.

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