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What is the Difference Between WiFi HaLow and LoRaWAN?

Feb 29, 2024

The Internet of Things (IoT) market is booming, and so is the demand for wireless connectivity. According to Statista, the IoT market is expected to double from 2020 to 2030, meaning that by 2030, there will be over 29 billion IoT devices. This begs the question - how best to connect them? which direction to choose when you have two technologies with excellent properties for connecting IoT and IIoT devices and sensors?

LoRaWAN® is a well-established form of connectivity, but the rise of unlicensed WiFi HaLow is redefining companies’ approach wireless communication when it comes to their IoT devices. This technology claims to be a cut above the rest, but is it? If you’re facing these questions, this post will save you the guesswork. We will review and compare WiFi Halow and LoRaWAN, so that you can make an informed decision.

1.LoRaWAN vs. WiFi Halow


If you’re looking to connect devices across long distances with minimal power consumption, then LoRaWAN is for you. LoRaWAN can connect battery-powered devices even when spread out and with reduced power consumption compared to traditional WiFi.

LoRaWAN can be tailored to IoT and Industrial IoT applications, making it quite the contender. Imagine having a remote farm where sensors can easily transmit data or a smart city with minimal power having connection through the thickest of walls.

WiFi HaLow

WiFi HaLow, also known as IEEE 802.11ah, was tailored to meet the specific demands of IoT and IIoT applications, making a dramatic impact on connectivity and taking WiFi to the next level. Why? This is because it operates in the unlicensed 900MHZ band. HaLow provides a far longer range and improved signal, performing much better through obstacles and walls.

WiFi HaLow is also energy efficient and works well with battery-powered sensor devices, addressing various critical infrastructure and enterprise use cases.

halow, 802.11ah, wifi halow

2. Range and Coverage

Although both WiFi HaLow and LoRaWAN fall under the wireless connectivity category,  they differ in range and appeal to different use cases.

WiFi HaLow isn't just an upgrade; it's a game-changer for wireless connectivity. Unlike traditional WiFi, it strikes a perfect balance between long-range and decent data speeds. It fits applications that require devices to be spread across a campus or building.

On the other hand, LoRaWAN is designed for long-range communication and therefore works well with limited power. Semtech, who created LoRa to provide long-range coverage, suggests that it can range up to five kilometers in urban areas and up to 15 kilometers in rural areas. As a result, it’s great for applications that prioritize extensive coverage and the connection of numerous devices within a single network.

LoRaWAN is a good choice for applications such as smart agriculture, environmental monitoring, and scenarios where devices are dispersed over a wide area. This technology can penetrate obstacles, which contributes to its reliability in challenging environments.

So, choosing between the all-new WiFi HaLow and LoRaWAN really boils down to the specific requirements for your IoT or IIoT deployment. Distance, power consumption, and the density of connected devices all play a crucial role in determining the most suitable technology.

3. How 802.11ah is shaping the market

When considering how 802.11ah arrived at the market, it shouldn’t come as a surprise. WiFi HaLow was created to meet the growing demands of the IoT era, especially in smart city and IoT applications. Working within the sub-GHZ band goes beyond traditional WiFi. This means that its range, power, and coverage surpass the 2.4, 5, and 6 GHz bands.

Wi-Fi HaLow, the newest MAC/PHY (medium access control/physical layer) certification from the Wi-Fi Alliance offers an extensive and advanced protocol that is ideal for secure, long-range, and power-efficient IoT applications.

4. Keeping IoT Environments Secure

Wi-Fi HaLow supports globally recognized security protocols for the authentication and communication of connected devices. It meets the latest Wi-Fi authentication standards, such as WPA3 and Enhanced OpenTM based on Opportunistic Wireless Encryption (OWE), as well as provides AES encryption for OTA traffic, supporting secure firmware upgrades.

Furthermore, Wi-Fi HaLow remains adaptable to evolving IoT security needs. The Wi-Fi Alliance utilizes security tools, such as Easy Connect, when developing new protocols linked to security.

In contrast, LoRaWAN lacks the same standard of security assurance. Hence, there is no guarantee that it has been reviewed by security subject experts. The LoRa Alliance acknowledges that this could potentially leave networks and devices vulnerable to attacks. These include mishandling keys and reusing numbers.

5. Power Consumption

Every organization considers power consumption to be a major resource issue. This is also true for battery-operated devices, and therefore checking that the connectivity in use suits the energy consumption of your application/s is vital. LoRaWAN stands out as an optimal choice for conserving battery life while ensuring a dependable connection for IoT and IIoT devices deployed in remote environments. This is because the data transmission pattern works intermittently and per schedule.

However, when you throw WiFi HaLow into the mix, you’ll notice that it provides a balance of power consumption and data rates. Hence, it is a great choice for companies who require sending more data than LoRaWAN can handle.

6. Data Rates

When it comes to how much data a company uses, it typically depends on the industry.. In industries that monitor, control, manage assets, and more, it's imperative to transmit and receive data quickly and reliably to make informed decisions, ensure system stability, and quickly respond to varying conditions.

LoRaWAN’s supported data rates range between 250bps and 22Kbps, while WiFi HaLow allows 600 times faster rate – 150Kbps to 15Mbps, albeit in a much shorter range.

7. Where to Use LoRaWAN and WiFi HaLow

LoRaWAN works in vast areas with very little power consumption, including sectors such as agriculture, environmental monitoring, smart cities, and supply chain management.

However, WiFi HaLow excels in as telecommunications, energy, water, power smart grids, healthcare, and industrial IoT applications – all of which rely heavily on data. WiFi HaLow suits organizations with many different IoT devices that need to operate in a small space.


To sum up, both LoRaWAN and WiFi HaLow play a role in where wireless connectivity is heading. However, each technology has its purpose and its place on the market. LoRaWAN is better for those requiring long-range communication with minimal energy. WiFi HaLow is suitable and works for a wide range of IoT scenarios requiring a shorter range (although longer than standard WiFi) and a much higher data rate.

When looking for the right IoT gateway, you’d want to make sure it features support for these wireless communications technologies, as well as other options, such as CBRS and Anterix, just like the SecFlow IoT gateway.

Learn more about SecFlow here.



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