Guest Column | June 4, 2024

The Future Of Wi-Fi HaLow IP Cameras

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By Prakash Guda, Morse Micro

Wi-Fi HaLow offers extended range, better obstacle penetration, lower power consumption, and enhanced security for home security cameras, addressing limitations of traditional Wi-Fi and enabling robust, long-range connectivity.

The use of home security cameras has increased dramatically in recent years, providing an effective way to monitor and protect homes. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, there are 2.5 million burglaries a year in the U.S., and an estimated 260 million parcels were stolen by “porch pirates” in 2022. Homes monitored by security cameras are 300% safer from break-ins than those without. As a result, an estimated 20% of U.S. homes now have security cameras, and the market for security cameras is expected to grow 18% annually through 2030.

Most wireless and wire-free (e.g., battery-powered) security cameras use conventional Wi-Fi, including Wi-Fi 4, 5, and 6 operating in the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands, to connect to the internet and home networks. However, traditional Wi-Fi connectivity options have limitations that impede their ability to support security cameras effectively. For example, Wi-Fi in the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 6 GHz bands has limited signal range and a limited ability to penetrate walls and other obstacles, meaning it struggles to meet the demand for robust, long-range data connections. These issues create problems from a security perspective, resulting in surveillance failures such as gaps in coverage and blurry footage.

The limitations of conventional Wi-Fi and the desire to secure both interior and exterior spaces of houses and other buildings have created a market opportunity for IP cameras that can guarantee robust network connectivity, even at long range and through walls and other obstacles. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED HaLow, based on the IEEE 802.11ah standard and certified by the Wi-Fi Alliance, was specifically designed to meet the needs of long-reach, battery-powered IoT applications such as security cameras. Let’s take a closer look at the many ways in which Wi-Fi HaLow outperforms conventional Wi-Fi in home security camera applications.

Unlike Wi-Fi 4, 5, 6, 6E, and 7, which operate at higher radio frequencies (2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, and 6 GHz bands), Wi-Fi HaLow uses sub-GHz frequencies, which enable signals to travel farther than possible with higher frequencies. For example, the lower sub-GHz frequencies and narrower band RF channels of Wi-Fi HaLow provide 10x the reach of 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi – at the same transmitter power levels. This means that Wi-Fi HaLow cameras can continue to transmit video across long distances at which conventional Wi-Fi cameras lose their connections.

 In addition, sub-GHz signals can pass through barriers such as walls, windows, and doors more easily than higher-frequency signals. Wi-Fi HaLow signals are far less affected by building structures than conventional Wi-Fi and can reach outdoor locations with ease. Wi-Fi HaLow also can support more than 8,000 devices with a single access point (AP), making the protocol a cost-effective choice for large-scale deployments of IoT devices.

Another advantage of Wi-Fi HaLow is its energy efficiency. The technology was designed with power-sensitive IoT devices in mind, making it an ideal choice for battery-powered security cameras. Wi-Fi HaLow consumes less power than conventional Wi-Fi technologies, which means that cameras and other IoT devices running on batteries will have longer operating lifetimes. This not only saves homeowners the hassle of having to frequently replace batteries but also reduces the environmental impact of disposing of used batteries.

 Additionally, Wi-Fi HaLow supports the latest Wi-Fi security features such as WPA3 and AES. WPA3 provides more effective security measures than its predecessor, WPA2, by using a stronger cryptographic algorithm for authentication and encryption. AES is a widely used encryption standard that ensures that the data transmitted between devices is secure. These advanced security technologies make Wi-Fi HaLow a secure option for home security cameras, protecting users against cyber threats and unauthorized access.

Finally, Wi-Fi HaLow is based on the open IEEE 802.11 standard and can use Wi-Fi Alliance onboarding protocols, such as Wi-Fi Easy Connect, or Matter from the Connectivity Standards Alliance, which simplifies device and network installation. Operating costs are reduced as there is no need for proprietary gateways, controllers, or hubs. This makes Wi-Fi HaLow an attractive option for homeowners looking for a simple and cost-effective way to enhance the security of their homes.

With the growing frequency of home burglaries and porch thefts, the demand for reliable and cost-effective security cameras is higher than ever. Wi-Fi HaLow offers a solution to the connectivity challenges presented by conventional Wi-Fi technologies and provides numerous benefits including extended range, energy efficiency, enhanced security, and ease of installation. For these reasons, Wi-Fi HaLow is gaining traction in the security camera market. No other wireless protocol comes close to meeting the unique requirements of battery-powered security cameras as effectively as Wi-Fi HaLow. As a result, we will likely see more Wi-Fi HaLow-enabled security cameras available to consumers in the coming years, contributing to the growth of the home security camera market.

 About The Author

Prakash Guda is Vice President of Marketing and Product Management with Morse Micro, a fast-growing fabless semiconductor company focused on Internet of Things (IoT) connectivity. He has more than two decades of experience in the wireless technology sector and a track record of creating industry-leading products in multiple vertical markets.