What Makes ioAire’s Wi-Fi HaLow the Ideal Wireless Technology to Support the IIoT?

As more automated and autonomous systems are brought online, the demands for industrial wireless connectivity are increasing rapidly. Today’s requirements include higher throughput, greater bandwidth, further reach through obstacles, and low latency. Wireless LANs and traditional Wi-Fi are unable to meet these unique and stringent requirements, as the mainstream market for Wi-Fi is driven mostly by the smartphone, the enterprise office, video streaming, and gaming marketplace.

Major weaknesses in today’s industrial wireless systems include limitations in scalability and bandwidth, data reliability concerns, limited range, spotty coverage, security vulnerabilities, and compatibility issues, among other problems. However, by utilizing recently adopted 802.11ah Wi-Fi HaLow protocols, ioAire networks can keep up with the pace of industry. 

Here are ten ways ioAire’s solutions address the weaknesses of industrial wireless.

  1. Energy Efficiency

    ioAire Wi-Fi HaLow networks enable a wider range of power options, even from a very small power source, such as a coin cell battery. Advanced modulation and coding schemes adapt to channel conditions, so messages are accelerated when channels are clean. This higher throughput means shorter message transmission time, allowing the circuit to sleep more quickly — thus conserving energy. The result: more bits per unit of energy (joules) and lower idle power consumption than competing network technologies.

    The restricted access window (RAW) is another great feature ioAire networks provide, allowing an access point (AP) to grant privileges to a subset of stations to transfer data, while others are forced to sleep or buffer non-urgent data. This reduces collisions, allowing active devices to transfer more data at the fastest rates they can achieve. Based on specific needs, priorities can easily be tuned to further improve network performance.

  2. Data Rate

    ioAire offers the widest range of data rates to suit IoT applications — such as high-definition video cameras streaming tens of mb/s to lower bit-rate applications such as temperature sensors, door locks, or lighting controls. Rates can automatically scale for changes in conditions or distance from an AP, just like Wi-Fi.

  3. Range

    As compared with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, ioAire networks reach ten times the range and cover 100 times the area. One access point can reach over 30 acres of outdoor space.

  4. Penetration Through Structures

    Due to the physics of wave propagation, a network’s signal penetration is inversely proportional to its frequency. ioAire’s Wi-Fi HaLow networks operate in the 800-900 MHz spectrum. This is a 2.5 times lower frequency than the 2.4-GHz Bluetooth, Wi-Fi 4, or Zigbee, and a five to six times lower frequency than Wi-Fi 5 and 6 networks. This means ioAire networks perform exceptionally well in complex indoor structures, such as factories and warehouses.

    facade of an industrial building with stairs leading to closed door

  5. Security

    ioAire’s Wi-Fi HaLow networks follow the standards to provide the most advanced WPA3 security for authentication and encryption of data. We will follow all future refinements in Wi-Fi security as well.

    Further, higher network data rates enable very rapid over-the-air (OTA) firmware updating. Other wireless LAN technologies such as Bluetooth and LoraWAN cannot accomplish OTA updates without taking devices offline for extended periods. In the case of a data breach, ioAire’s OTA updates can change keys for all remote devices in a rapid manner, effectively shrinking the scope of an attack in real time.

  6. Network Data Capacity

    ioAire’s Wi-Fi HaLow networks can connect up to 8,191 devices per access point. Multiple signaling options reduce the overhead required to manage and control larger amounts of devices. 

  7. Installation/Operational Costs

    Wi-Fi HaLow supports native IP traffic, just like traditional Wi-Fi. Simple installation requires only a Wi-Fi-HaLow-capable AP or router. No proprietary hubs or gateways are needed. The star-oriented architecture does not require complex meshes of repeaters that bog down messages and cause management problems for other wireless technologies. It uses license-free sub-1 GHz spectrum, with no recurring subscription fees or data plans.

  8. License-free Spectrum

    Service provider contracts are not required, since ioAire networks do not rely on mobile service providers. As with traditional Wi-Fi, customers can own the network. ioAire does not share frequencies with cellular data carriers.

    businessman holding a tablet with cityscape in background

  9. Interoperability and Customer Experience

    ioAire ensures interoperability due to following the guidance of the Wi-Fi Alliance, which provides specifications and certification services to members. Other wireless IoT technologies are either proprietary or do not have well-organized guidance, which may impact time to market, product costs, and customer experience.

  10. Native IP Support

    Internet standard transport protocols are standard in ioAire networks, for direct access to cloud-based services. Other wireless IoT technologies such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, Z-Wave, or LoraWAN each require a proprietary gateway to convert local client traffic to IP traffic for internet access. These additional stages of processing are required to wrap extra data around the packets, adding delays and reducing the efficiency of those networks. ioAire’s networks eliminate this complicated requirement.

The IIoT has historically been slow to adopt advancements to IT infrastructure, but that is changing. Logistics managers are actively incorporating new technologies in order to keep up with demands related to increased automation, and turning to ioAire’s powerful networking solutions. Contact us to learn how we can tackle your most complex logistics automation challenges.

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