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Using Wi-Fi® to advance Home Internet of Things technology

December 19, 2023
The Beacon

Home Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the network of smart devices inside a private residence that connect to the Internet and each other but extend beyond traditional computing and entertainment products that use Wi-Fi®, such as computers, smartphones, TVs, and game consoles. Some common Home IoT devices include security cameras, lighting, and appliances. The key component of Home IoT is interoperability, as devices produced by different manufacturers need to work together in order to provide a great user experience. Wi-Fi is the natural connectivity choice for Home IoT systems because it is designed specifically for interoperability by adhering to IEEE standards. Wi-Fi also provides safe transference of personal data thanks to its robust WPA3™ security protocol.

Wi-Fi connectivity protocols enhance Internet of Things functionality

Core Wi-Fi certifications are based on IEEE connectivity standards, the latest of which is called Wi-Fi CERTIFIED 6®. The key upgrades offered by Wi-Fi 6 over its predecessors include greater capacity, multi-gigabit data rates, better power efficiency, and high performance even in densely populated environments. Wi-Fi 6 also includes the Wi-Fi 6E certification, which extends connectivity into the 6 gigahertz (GHz) band, offering faster speeds using larger channel widths and bringing extra capacity to the Wi-Fi universe with relatively low interference and congestion. Wi-Fi CERTIFIED® is also an essential ingredient for Matter certification, which further ensures device compatibility.

Wi-Fi 6 includes a number of features that have significant benefits for Home IoT, including:

  • Target wake time (TWT) – Allows devices to “sleep” for long periods of time between connections to the network, extending battery life
  • Multi-user multiple-input and multiple-output (MU-MIMO) – Allows APs to connect to more IoT devices simultaneously
  • Orthogonal frequency division multiple access (OFDMA) – Shares channels to increase network efficiency and lower latency for both uplink and downlink traffic
  • Beamforming – Allows better connections to devices in distant part of the home or garden
  • BSS coloring – A method of identifying and managing overlaps between “basic service sets,” the term for a combination of an access point (AP) and at least one connected client device, reducing interference due to congestion and ensuring consistent service to multiple devices in a busy wireless environment

In addition to Wi-Fi 6, another important generational Wi-Fi technology is Wi-Fi CERTIFIED HaLow™. This technology, specifically designed for the IoT marketplace, offers long range, low power connectivity by operating in the sub-1 GHz spectrum. This allows it to reach devices up to 1 kilometer (km) away from the AP, which is particularly useful for enterprises, agriculture settings, and smart cities.

In a Home IoT context, Wi-Fi HaLow’s ability to penetrate walls and other barriers better than 2.4 GHz technologies is an important consideration. Wi-Fi HaLow implements new sleep and management modes (using the same TWT protocol as Wi-Fi 6 above) to deliver energy-efficient, multi-year battery operation. This makes it suitable for connecting devices such as door locks, lighting, cameras, and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) components. It can also link appliances to each other or to internet resources without running additional signaling wires. Home doorbells or multi-dwelling unit (MDU) access control systems can use Wi-Fi HaLow’s higher data rates to support real-time video and biometric authentication schemes. 

Home Internet of Things use cases multiply thanks to Wi-Fi

Home IoT captures a wide range of technologies that work together to support convenient living, provide security, and even monitor health. In general, Home IoT products are beginning to emerge with more screens and video capabilities. These require high bandwidth in order to provide real-time viewership and interactivity with low latency. Whole-home coverage is also necessary, as mobile Home IoT products that experience lapses in coverage will stop working immediately, unable to recover and move to a better connected area. Due to the variety of use cases and multitude of devices on a Home IoT network, it is imperative to use the latest Wi-Fi connectivity technology.

Home IoT use cases most relevant for Wi-Fi today and in the future include: 

  • Home control and lighting – This includes products primarily related to heat, light, power, and cooling, including smart plugs, light bulbs, air conditioning, and window blinds. These devices often span the entire home and extend into the garden or yard, benefitting from the range offered by Wi-Fi 6
  • Consumer electronics and appliances – These products include connected versions of standard consumer products, covering everything from robotic vacuum cleaners to ovens, fridges, garden sprinklers, and even pet feeding machines. These are purchased by homeowners and rental tenants and typically work on a standalone basis rather than being deeply integrated into home automation, although they will often connect to smartphone applications or a voice control platform
  • Entertainment and smart speakers – Smart speakers and home entertainment are probably the most well known Home IoT use cases, including solutions such as Amazon’s Alexa. These devices rely on Wi-Fi for high-quality audio streaming and access to the cloud. Many vendors have added screens to their speaker devices, which act as terminals for video calls and video-entry doorbells. These screens use significant bandwidth, therefore high-performance Wi-Fi is a requirement 
  • Security and access products – Compared to categories such as kitchen appliances, there is far greater need for security products to work together to protect the home from risks and threats. An alarm system may involve multiple cameras, door sensors, smoke alarms, and other products as well as the ability to link to remote cloud-based storage systems and connect to monitoring and alarm management services. This puts a premium on interoperability and WPA3 security
  • Health and fitness – Health and fitness describes a group of products ranging from fitness bands and watches to connected telemedicine devices such as blood-pressure cuffs and eldercare alarms. There is a growing need for real-time connectivity to the cloud, two-way communications, instant analytics and feedback, and remote management. While many devices are standalone today, we can expect greater levels of coordination and correlation between products in the future, which will put a premium on interoperability and Wi-Fi certification

Wi-Fi CERTIFIED testing and certification is one of the most effective ways to optimize Home IoT device performance because IoT is so dependent on both Wi-Fi and interoperability. As these products become more and more sophisticated and incorporate features and applications that require higher bandwidth, it becomes increasingly important to access the benefits of the latest Wi-Fi certifications. When it comes to connectivity, reliability, and security, there is no standard more stringent yet easy to attain than Wi-Fi CERTIFIED.

For more information on Wi-Fi and Home IoT, please read the following papers:

Optimizing Home IoT with Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™

Leveraging Wi-Fi® for Home IoT use cases

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to

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