Wi-Fi® Delivers Strong IoT Advantage

By Taryn Engmark

Associate Editor

Embedded Computing Design

July 15, 2022


Wi-Fi® Delivers Strong IoT Advantage

Global ubiquity and prominence in delivering the internet make Wi-Fi® a suitable choice for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices in both residential and industrial environments. Wi-Fi is suited to support IoT products and applications with its ranging capabilities and proliferation as a global standard. Wi-Fi will play a role in almost every IoT environment, either alone or alongside more specialized protocols or technologies.

Phil Solis, research director at IDC, said, “There are an abundance of Wi-Fi chips supporting different levels of complexity and several unlicensed spectrum bands from sub-1 GHz to 6 GHz.”

Wi-Fi Alliance outlines eight Wi-Fi competencies that should be considered when selecting an IoT technology: 

  • Standards-based, interoperable technology: The promise of IoT is founded on a wide range of device manufacturers. Wi-Fi provides a common platform to deliver a growing range of IoT applications that vary in performance, power, and latency requirements.
  • Wi-Fi CERTIFIED delivers confidence that billions of devices will interoperate and provide a quality user experience regardless of product brand.
  • Pervasive connectivity: IoT systems are often controlled through mobile devices, and Wi-Fi allows control of smartphones, tablets, and 18 billion Wi-Fi devices already in use. Pervasive global connectivity empowers users and network operators to connect and control a unified system.
  • WPA3™ security: Sensitive government, industrial, and personal information is exchanged through IoT applications. Wi-Fi delivers WPA3 security to protect information exchanged in personal and enterprise environments. Choosing Wi-Fi CERTIFIED IoT devices ensures data is protected with the latest, enterprise-grade security protocols.
  • Cost effective, simple deployment: Wi-Fi is an easy-to-deploy and cost-effective foundation that requires no separate gateways or specialized skills to deliver IoT applications. Wi-Fi continues to evolve to simplify device pairing, network authentication, and more.
  • Backward compatibility: Wi-Fi is a smart investment for IoT product architects who consider cost, reliability, and support in future-proofing their technology investment. Wi-Fi will stand the test of time, minimizing the risk of premature obsolescence and ensuring legacy devices can connect to home networks.
  • Location awareness: Wi-Fi Locationdelivers sub-meter-level location information that allows a range of location-aware IoT services for industrial and smart city environments, enabling asset management, network management, and geo-fencing.
  • Reliable, sophisticated connectivity: Home and industrial IoT networks require consistent connectivity. Wi-Fi 6networks deliver sophisticated network efficiency, diagnostics, management, and optimization capabilities. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E handle simultaneously-connected devices and heavy data throughput while delivering high performance and low latencies for applications including 4K video streaming and AR/VR. Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E also allow devices, such as manufacturing robots and drones, to remain connected even as they move or “roam” throughout home or industrial networks.
  • Flexible network topology: In addition to a traditional Wi-Fi connection through access points, Wi-Fi CERTIFIED EasyMesh™Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Aware™, and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Wi-Fi Direct® offer a variety of network topologies to different IoT environments for scalable and customizable options to meet IoT network and application needs.

The Role of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™

Wi-Fi’s portfolio addresses IoT use cases that support high throughput and low latency applications, such as AR/VR, and long-range, low-power requirements for asset tracking applications or rural irrigation systems. Wi-Fi Alliance certifications, including Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6™Wi-Fi CERTIFIED HaLow™Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Easy Connect, and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED QoS Management deliver capabilities to meet unique IoT requirements across residential, industrial, and other IoT environments.

The potential of the IoT market has resulted in devices brought to market without sufficient testing, delivering a less-than-optimal user experience. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED devices meet high-quality standards for the latest security, interoperability, and a range of application-specific protocols.

“A notable benefit for IoT is a feature called Target Wake Time (TWT), helping ensure that client devices can save power and extend their battery life — a critical advantage for IoT devices. Wi-Fi 6 uses a combination of technologies — including OFDMA and 1024 QAM modulation — to improve spectral efficiency, boost speed, and support many devices in a confined area, which is now an important consideration in the home where many appliances and other IoT devices are connected to the home hub and several users may be consuming high quality video, gaming, or AR/VR at the same time,” said Adlane Fellah, senior analyst, Maravedis Research.

“Wi-Fi 6 can now also support many of the requirements for industrial use cases, with enhancements to latency, determinism and power efficiency. In a smart factory, Wi-Fi might deliver the optimal cost/performance for high bandwidth cameras that power augmented reality services and Wi-Fi HaLow might be optimal for machinery monitoring, which needs very low power and low bandwidth.”