802.11ah is coming, say goodbye ZigBee And Z-Wave?

In January 2016, the Wi-Fi alliance announced an extension of 802.11ah to be called Wi-Fi HaLow, pronounced "HAY-Low"

A benefit of 802.11ah is extended range, making it useful for rural communications and offloading cell phone tower traffic. The other purpose of the protocol is to allow low rate 802.11 wireless stations to be used in the sub-gigahertz spectrum. The protocol is one of the IEEE 802.11 technologies which is the most different from the LAN model, especially concerning medium contention. A prominent aspect of 802.11ah is the behaviour of stations that are grouped to minimize contention on the air media, use relay to extend their reach, use little power thanks to predefined wake/doze periods, are still able to send data at high speed under some negotiated conditions and use sectored antennas. It uses the 802.11a/g specification that is down sampled to provide 26 channels, each of them able to provide 100 kbit/s throughput. It can cover a one-kilometer radius. It aims at providing connectivity to thousands of devices under an access point. The protocol supports machine to machine (M2M) markets, like smart metering.

There is no furthest, only further.


802.11af utilizes unused television spectrum frequencies (i.e., white spaces) to transmit information. Because of this, it’s earned the nickname “White-Fi.” Because these frequencies are between 54 MHz and 790 MHz, AF can be used for low power, wide-area range, like AH but better.

Who will use it:

  • Organizations that need extremely long-range wireless networks.
  • Lower interference can drastically improve performance.


Because AF can use several unused TV channels at once, it can be used for very long range devices—potentially up to several miles, with high data rates.


It’s still in proposal stages, so it hasn’t been approved or released to the mass market yet. “White space” channels are not available everywhere, like in big cities.


802.11ah aims at providing connectivity to thousands of devices under an access point.