Wi-Fi HaLow is a wireless networking protocol, written as an extension to the IEEE802.11 standard, that’s intended to operate at low power and longer range than Wi-Fi. The IEEE802.11ah extension was announced and published in 2016.
The extension uses the license-free ISM band around 900MHz rather than the 2.4, 5 and 6GHz bands used by conventional Wi-Fi. In theory, the lower power consumption allows HaLow to compete with Bluetooth but with higher data rates and wider coverage. It is thought that HaLow could be a boon to the Internet of Things (IoT) as well as migrating into smart wearables, smart homes, logistics and agricultural IoT.
Morse claims on its website that its chips are capable of 40Mbps data rates, for single-stream, single-antenna products using channel widths varying between 1, 2, 4 and 8MHz, and of up to 80Mbps when using an optional 16MHz channel width. The technology trades off the higher speeds of traditional Wi-Fi for the power efficiency of its protocol and the ability to penetrate buildings and walls.
According to Morse Micro its HaLow transceiver chips will be 5x smaller and lower cost than conventional Wi-Fi chips while providing 10 times the range at 200x lower power.
Morse Micro has said its SoCs provide a “complete solution” incorporating the radio, phy, MAC, security, processor and memory components as well as I/O and connection interfaces and host applications processor options.
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Morse Micro was founded by co-CEOs Andrew Terry and Michael De Nil in 2016. Terry was previously Wi-Fi radio lead for Broadcom and had previously worked for Wolfson Microelectronics and Dialog Semiconductor. De Nil also previously worked at Broadcom – as a principal IC design engineer – and prior to that conducted research into low-power application-specific instruction set processors at the IMEC research institute in Belgium.
The chip family is labelled as the MM61xx but it is yet to be revealed exactly what is on the various versions of those chips. The chips are being for manufacture by TSMC in 40nm low power CMOS. A spokesperson for the company said the process offers “excellent performance and stability for Morse Micro’s superior mixed signal design. Offers attractive wafer costs and virtually unlimited capacity.”
A Sydney Morning Herald report from August 2017 said Cisco would ship products based on ICs from Morse Micro in about 18 months, which would put delivery around the end of the February 2019. In January 2018, the company had test chips back from its foundry and co-CEO Terry said on a Youtube video the company was 18 months away from shipping chips which would put the date out at July 2019. The company now states the supply date is “the end of 2019,” although this may still allow for early access customers to receive chips earlier.
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