The new type of Wi-Fi can reach twice as far as before

Wi-Fi routers
Wi-Fi routers not using Wi-Fi HaLow... yet.

Everything in the home is going smart, from fridges to thermostats, and that can put a strain on your poor Wi-Fi router. The Wi-Fi Alliance, the body that sets the Wi-Fi standards for manufacturers to follow, thinks it's found a solution in the form of Wi-Fi HaLow.

HaLow isn't really an upgrade on existing Wi-Fi standards - it's more like a new extension of Wi-Fi, one aimed specifically at the Internet of Things. It can stretch twice as far while using less power, so it's perfect for getting everything in your smart home connected.

It takes advantage of the 900MHz spectrum band (rather than 2.4GHz or 5GHz) which means it can go further and is better at getting through walls than standard Wi-Fi: more reasons why it's a good choice for keeping your smaller gadgets online. Some speed is sacrificed along the way, though.

Better than Bluetooth?

We'll have to wait and see how keen the manufacturers are, but the low-power aspect should be appealing to them. Supporting standard Wi-Fi takes a decent chunk of power, which is a problem when you're trying to design a small, cheap electronic gadget that's going to last a long time between charges.

Today home sensors, fitness trackers, security cameras and the like tend to use Bluetooth, so Wi-Fi HaLow will have to be compellingly superior in order to elbow its way into the market (it does have the advantage of being able to connect directly to the web, of course).

If all goes to plan the first products are expected to arrive by 2018.

"Wi-Fi HaLow expands the unmatched versatility of Wi-Fi to enable applications from small, battery-operated wearable devices to large-scale industrial facility deployments - and everything in between," said Edgar Figueroa, President and CEO of the Wi-Fi Alliance.

David Nield
Freelance Contributor

Dave is a freelance tech journalist who has been writing about gadgets, apps and the web for more than two decades. Based out of Stockport, England, on TechRadar you'll find him covering news, features and reviews, particularly for phones, tablets and wearables. Working to ensure our breaking news coverage is the best in the business over weekends, David also has bylines at Gizmodo, T3, PopSci and a few other places besides, as well as being many years editing the likes of PC Explorer and The Hardware Handbook.