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Wireless Networking Technology

802.11ah Wi-Fi Standard Approved (networkworld.com) 160

alphadogg writes: A new wireless standard that extends Wi-Fi's reach down into the 900MHz band will keep the 802.11 family at the center of the developing Internet of Things, the Wi-Fi Alliance announced today. 802.11ah, combines lower power requirements with a lower frequency, which means that those signals propagate better. That offers a much larger effective range than current Wi-Fi standards, which operate on 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequencies, and lets the newer technology penetrate walls and doors more easily.
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802.11ah Wi-Fi Standard Approved

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  • Is there any spectrum available for this in Europe or is it all used by GSM?
    • Re:Europe (Score:5, Informative)

      by Terje Mathisen ( 128806 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @06:58AM (#51240619)

      That's the key question: Unless you have an available open access frequency band, this standard is just wishful thinking instead of a new product.

      The current allocations in Europe (http://www.erodocdb.dk/docs/doc98/official/pdf/ERCRep025.pdf) covers all of 890-942, 942-960 and 960-1164 MHz, with usage mostly cell phone, radio-navigation and broadcasting.

      Terje

      • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

        I've been unable to find any specifics on the frequencies used. Even in the US that band is mostly allocated, with just 915MHz available for anyone to use with certain limitations. Since there are many, many devices using 915MHz already and none of them will interoperate well with wifi, I'm really interesting to know what bands they are using.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          I've been unable to find any specifics on the frequencies used. Even in the US that band is mostly allocated, with just 915MHz available for anyone to use with certain limitations. Since there are many, many devices using 915MHz already and none of them will interoperate well with wifi, I'm really interesting to know what bands they are using.

          European allocation is 863-868 MHz.
          See: https://mentor.ieee.org/802.11/dcn/11/11-11-1137-15-00ah-specification-framework-for-tgah.docx

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          They plan on spattering the hell out of 915.

    • by Ozoner ( 1406169 )

      Presumably it will use the standard 900MHz ISM band. see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org]

      Which is only available in Region 2 (eg Americas, Greenland and some of the eastern Pacific Islands)

    • There is public spectrum in that range in most countries. Which is why wi-fi wants it. But it's already in use by many, often because the 2.4GHz is clogged by wi-fi.

      There's no realy reason for 802.11 to be in that range, there are already standards that use that range. High speed ubiquitous use by wi-fi will kill of low speed, low power usses. If a vendor wants to use that range then they can use existing standards that use that range instead of wi-fi.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    While I always thought the 5Ghz was a ridiculous band for Wifi. I also know that the 2.4Ghz was good but never had enough bandwidth for channels. Which meant a ceiling on speed. While adding the 900 Mhz band is just as crazy because it draws closer to even more interference from other systems using that band. The real problem is finding ways to increase speed without having to increase bandwidth. Until then, adding more spectrums of bands just adds to the complexity and confusion without much else solved.

    • by Rei ( 128717 )

      If you have flexibility on frequencies you gain the best of all worlds - 900 MHz for maximum range / minimum bandwidth, up to 5 GHz for minimum range / maximum bandwidth.

      • Exactly I use 5ghz in my apartment for that reasoning. I don't need a signal 100 feet away. I just want bandwidth.

        • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

          I cant get 5ghz to work 30 feet away because I have walls. I had to install 4 separate 5ghz AP's to get full coverage of my house.

          • Or just use 2.4GHz.

            • by Lumpy ( 12016 )

              Nope. there are over 100 2.4ghz AP's that I can receive in my home. the 2.4Ghz band is so saturated that it works WORSE than 5ghz here.

              I can see over 20 "linksys" named routers alone.

    • While I always thought the 5Ghz was a ridiculous band for Wifi. I also know that the 2.4Ghz was good but never had enough bandwidth for channels. Which meant a ceiling on speed. While adding the 900 Mhz band is just as crazy because it draws closer to even more interference from other systems using that band. The real problem is finding ways to increase speed without having to increase bandwidth. Until then, adding more spectrums of bands just adds to the complexity and confusion without much else solved.

      Care to tell me why you feel that IoT devices are going to need to pass data at "ludicrous" speed when in reality they'll likely be sipping at the bandwidth well?

      Seems we're quickly forgetting the real problem being solved here, which is more an issue of penetration and distance than bandwidth, hence the focus on 900Mhz.

    • Nobody can crack your WiFi credentials, if they can't pick up the signals, even at 5GHz, a 15 element yagi, or a 8 lambda diameter parabolic reflector is pretty obvious.

    • A lot of uses of 2.4GHz migrated away from there because of immense interference from wi-fi, and many went to the 800/900MHz bands instead (which vary with each country). Things like baby monitors, cordless phones (not as common now), etc. Since the bands are public they're *already* being used for internet of things, just not with 802.11.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Tin foil works against 900MHz right?

  • by Rob Lister ( 4174831 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @07:47AM (#51240737)
    I'm okay with this. Long range, low bandwidth. It might be useful for fairly remote devices that just don't have a lot to say. Some folks are disturbed about the possibility of interference with other devices on this band (mobile mostly) but presumably the FCC did their job (yea, large values of Assume in that Presume, of course). I don't think it is going to get a lot of use so I don't think it is going to much matter. It will probably have a lot of value in the industrial world in terms of remote sensing. Not so much for the home.
    • Re:Not a hater (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @08:21AM (#51240805) Homepage

      The only reason the 5Ghz band works so well isn't the faster speeds, rather paradoxically the limited range that keeps the noise floor (SNR) level down due to less congestion from other networks near by; relatively speaking that is. Otherwise, the 2.4Ghz band is perfect other than the fact it's exceedingly crowded and oversaturated in apartment and business complexes. Packet loss sucks. It will only get worse - far far worse - for these IoT 900Mhz devices dotting the wireless landscape.

      • by swb ( 14022 )

        And the signal pollution is made worse by all the entities that decided that 802.11 was a WAN protocol meant for broad urban coverage. So in my single family home neighborhood, my wireless has to compete with the city's municipal wifi network and probably a bunch of the Comcast modems with built-in wireless radios that Comcast turns on for their own benefit.

        In dense urban areas its borderline unusable.

        • Add to this the inability to make devices attempt to use a slightly different range (channels) to avoid the noise due to companies making products that go and tap into every single channel range. Wireless bandwidth greed ruins the technology. If it wasn't for this the tech could have evolved to allow auto detection of the best channel to use in the selected area (such as wireless phones). This unfortunately can no longer happen because of the greed aforementioned.

          I worked for D-Link and nobody other than th

        • In dense urban areas its borderline unusable.

          802.11ac, being 5 GHz only, really helps in dense setups since it is so quickly absorbed by walls.

      • The worry I have is that the 2.4GHZ saturation will now migrate to 900MHz bands. That band is not empty and unused, it is currently in active use by current internet of things devices and other devices that can use lower speeds in exchange for better power usage or longer range. The IoT devices are already dotting the landscape. Remember, wi-fi is not the only radio or radio standard out there. There are classes of devices in the 900MHz bands which used to use 2.4GHz until that became oversaturated. Th

      • Well, that, and the fact that the available spectrum is much larger. The entire 2.4 spectrum available for wifi is less than 100MHz wide, and that's including channels 12 and 13. With 5 and 5.8, you've got several hundreds of MHz available. Even if equipment with 160MHz channel widths becomes popular, there will still be more spectrum available than in 2.4.
    • by tlhIngan ( 30335 )

      I'm okay with this. Long range, low bandwidth. It might be useful for fairly remote devices that just don't have a lot to say. Some folks are disturbed about the possibility of interference with other devices on this band (mobile mostly) but presumably the FCC did their job (yea, large values of Assume in that Presume, of course). I don't think it is going to get a lot of use so I don't think it is going to much matter. It will probably have a lot of value in the industrial world in terms of remote sensing.

      • There are existing standards for those bands not related to 802.11. The way 802.11 works it does best for higher bandwidth and higher power, but does not readily adapt itself to other purposes. Many existing low speed systems use meshing for instance rather than plopping access points every fifty meters. There are devices that wake up only a few times each day to transmit then go back to sleep.

        The worry is that bringing 802.11 to these bands will force those devices to seek out other public bands, the sa

  • by sociocapitalist ( 2471722 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @08:21AM (#51240809)

    "...lets the newer technology penetrate walls and doors more easily."

    Which is good if you live in a forest but won't this increase congestion problems in densely populated areas?

  • There are already a bazillion users in this band. Aside from the ISM devices, Amateur radio has an allocation in the 902-928 MHz band, and although we must accept interference from ISM devices, we can run 1500W legally and ISM devices must accept interference from us. I doubt IoT devices will play well with that kind of power.

    • IoT devices already exist in this band. Apparently they are cooperating. Who knows what the upstart newcomer of 802.11 will do though.

  • I am so tired of this myth.

    900 MHz signals do NOT "propagate better." They propagate in free space just the same as 2.4 GHz signals and, in the presence of scattering (e.g., small openings in otherwise shielded areas) not as well as 2.4 GHz.

    What people fail to realize is that these systems typically use some variant (often a physically shortened variant) of a dipole antenna, and the 900 MHz antenna is physically larger than the 2.4 GHz antenna. It therefore has a much larger effective area [wikipedia.org] (the effective

  • by silas_moeckel ( 234313 ) <silas@@@dsminc-corp...com> on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @10:28AM (#51241285) Homepage

    Lets see I already have on IoT radio in the ISM band, another in the 2,.4ghz, one at 345mhz, some sensors running a send only at 433mhz, and yet another that can run in 433/868/915MHz then add in 802..11ac in 2.4 and 5ghz. I realy do not think I need more bandwidth for my IoT gear. I need a standard for the end devices and a home controller aka things that should be designed to last for decades vs thing that should be regularly updated. The only real good thing I see from this is your average consumer gateway will have a radio that connects to our IoT devices and the encryption is stronger than what we have seen so far.

  • by dnaumov ( 453672 ) on Tuesday January 05, 2016 @11:02AM (#51241435)

    So basically these devices will never be sold in my country (Finland), since the 900Mhz band is reserved and used for LTE by 3 different carriers here.

  • So my 90's era cordless phone will disrupt my wifi signal more than it already does, great!

    Additionally consider what marketing people do to wifi standards. I foresee a new line of wireless routers claiming ridiculous ranges with higher price tags. Average consumer says higher price tag = better, and buys it for their apartment. Consumer is angry that 3 other people in his entire apartment complex bought it too or have the previously mentioned cordless phones and their internet stinks again. It's fine
    • There are some residential routers that have existing IoT protocols such as ZigBee and Z-Wave already build in. Not used much but they do exist. I believe that Verizon was pushing this and Lowes is sell this under the label Iris. The IoT has been the fusion power of consumer products for decades - always just around the corner with the latest shiny new thing.
      • Some of these IoT devices are already in wide use. Today. Smart meters for example, one per house. Maybe two to three per house in the future with water and gas as well, plus various sensors scattered for other uses. No one really called these IoT until recently.

  • ah may have modes that support lots of bandwidth, but do not think for a second that you are going to get 4k video across town over 900 MHz from an arduino running from a coin cell. The bandwidth link budget will not support it. You quickly run into the thermal noise floor of silicon. At a given sensativity of your receiver: Bandwidth ~= power / distance. You will be lucky to get 100 kBPS into your backyard. How many hours will a cordless phone last with monster batteries? This is a dream for meter
    • But meter reading is already done today, without any help from 802.11ah. 802.11ah does not bring anything new to the table.

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