Morse Micro issues first Wi-Fi HaLow SoC samples for ‘new (mid-range) IoT use cases’
Semiconductor company Morse Micro, developing Wi-Fi HaLow for low-power mid-range IoT connectivity, has released system-on-chip (SoC) and module samples to select developers. The target is to raise interest in Wi-Fi HaLow among the IoT developer community to “enable new IoT use cases”. The samples are being offered with the company’s own evaluation kits.
Wi-Fi HaLow (802.11ah) uses sub-GHz spectrum frequencies below 900 MHz (“outside the highly congested 2.4 GHz traditional Wi-Fi band”) to nearly double the range of traditional Wi-Fi, which relies on the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz spectrum bands, according to the Wi-Fi Alliance. It offers better penetration and lower power for long life fit-and-forget IoT solutions.
It will offer multi-vendor interoperability by using existing Wi-Fi protocols, making it compatible with Wi-Fi Alliance certified products, and offering the same government-grade security and easy setup as current Wi-Fi solutions. It straddles the line between low-power short-range technologies like Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) and Zigbee, and the traditional LPWA set, including LoRaWAN, NB-IoT, and Sigfox.
Australia-based Morse Micro, which has raised at least AUD$30 million from investors since it was founded in 2016, including a AUD$13 Series A round a year ago, is one of those developing chips for the new technology. It claims a 10-times advance with its Wi-Fi HaLow chips in terms of range, compared with conventional Wi-Fi; IoT modules based on its hardware will last “many years” on a single coin-cell battery, it reckons.
The company’s new Wi-Fi HaLow portfolio, available for sampling later this month (July), includes the “smallest, fastest and lowest-power” IEEE 802.11ah compliant SoCs. The MM6104 SoC supports 1 MHz, 2 MHz, and 4 MHz channel bandwidth; the MM6108 SoC also supports 8 MHz bandwidth. “These SoCs provide 10x the range, 100x the area and 1000x the volume of traditional Wi-Fi solutions.”
It said: “Wi-Fi HaLow signals penetrate obstacles more easily and can extend beyond 1 km, connecting far-flung IoT devices across residential, retail, office park, campus, warehouse and factory environments. Developed specifically for the IoT and supporting the latest WPA3 security, a single Wi-Fi HaLow access point can connect up to 8,191 devices, simplifying network deployment and reducing costs.”
Michael de Nil, co-founder and chief executive at the firm, commented: “The massive capacity and extended range of our Wi-Fi HaLow solution, combined with market-leading power efficiency and 8MHz channel throughput, will redefine Wi-Fi connectivity for the IoT… By delivering IEEE 802.11ah-compliant SoC and module samples for evaluation, we’re helping our partners and customers accelerate the market shift to Wi-Fi HaLow technology.”
The MM6108 and MM6104 SoCs provide a single-chip Wi-Fi HaLow solution with radio, PHY, and MAC. Their RF interface provides the option for on-chip amplification for low-power IoT devices, or an additional external PCB-mounted power amplifier or front-end module for wider-area applications. The RF receiver utilizes a high-linearity low-noise amplifier (LNA).
Morse Micro co-chairs the Wi-Fi HaLow task group, promoting Wi-Fi Alliance certification and a HaLow certification programme. It is targeting commercial, residential and industrial IoT markets in applications such as access control, security cameras, industrial automation, retail, and mobile devices – “at throughputs and ranges that will enable new IoT use cases,” it says.