Imec, Holst Centre and Methods2Business Develop Complete Low-Power Wi-Fi HaLow Radio Solution for Internet of Things (IoT) Applications

Leuven (Belgium) and Eindhoven (the Netherlands) – June 6, 2016 – At this week’s Design Automation Conference (DAC 2016), nanoelectronics research center imec, Holst Centre (initiated by imec and TNO), and Wi-Fi IP provider Methods2Bussiness will present a complete Wi-Fi ® HaLowTM radio solution. The new low-power, long-range radio solution uses 10 times less power than state-of-the-art orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) radio solutions on the market. It can be used for a broad range of applications related to the Internet of Things (IoT) and complies with the most recent wireless networking protocol, IEEE 802.11ah.

The radio solution’s compliance with the recently amended wireless networking protocol ensures that it is especially optimized for IoT-related applications. The Wi-Fi Alliance® recently introduced the HaLow (TM) designation for the new low-power, long-range Wi-Fi protocol IEEE802.11ah. Compared to other IoT standards, its sub-GHz carrier frequency and mandatory modes with 1MHz/2MHz channel bandwidths allow devices to operate over a longer range with scalable data rates from 150kb/s to 7.8Mb/s. The standard uses OFDM to improve the link robustness against fading, which is important in urban environments, and to achieve a high spectral efficiency (data rate over a given bandwidth).

The radio integrates imec and Holst Centre’s sub-1GHz IEEE 802.11ah transceiver and Methods2Business’ Medium Access Controller (MAC) hardware and software IP and application layer to enable 802.11ah communication between large numbers of IoT clients and the internet using a central access point. The transceiver comprises a complete low-power physical layer implementation of RF front-end and digital baseband. It features a 1.3nJ/b fully digital polar transmitter optimized for IoT applications as well as for the novel IEEE 802.11ah Wi-Fi protocol. The transmitter surpasses the tight spectral mask and error-vector-magnitude (EVM) requirements of conventional Wi-Fi standards. It does so while demonstrating a power consumption rate as low as 7.1mW in Tx mode for 0dBm output power.

Methods2Business 802.11ah MAC core implements all the new Wi-Fi HaLow™ functionality to address the drawbacks of traditional Wi-Fi in IoT. Besides mandatory features for connecting up to 8.000 IoT clients (Hierarchical AID), improving collision avoidance in channel access mechanisms (CSMA/CA, DCF, EDCA), and increasing throughput by supporting shorter MAC headers, very advanced power saving modes like Target Wake Time (TWT) and Restricted Access Window (RAW) are also supported. To further trade-off power versus performance, time-critical functions are implemented in hardware while higher level MAC protocols are realized in software. 

Imec’s connectivity research for the intuitive internet of things focuses on the development of ultra-small, low-cost, intelligent, and ultra–low power sensors, radio chips and heterogeneous sensor networks. Imec’s Intuitive IoT R&D program focuses on developing the building blocks for future IoT-related applications, with intuitive technology where sensor systems are aware of humans, human perspectives, and human’s environment. This intuitive IoT technology can react exactly as humans need or want them to, providing assistance in an unobtrusive way. Interested companies are invited to join imec’s research efforts as research partners or they can have access to imec’s innovative technology through licensing programs for further development.

About imec

Imec performs world-leading research in nanoelectronics. Imec leverages its scientific knowledge with the innovative power of its global partnerships in ICT, healthcare and energy. Imec delivers industry-relevant technology solutions. In a unique high-tech environment, its international top talent is committed to providing the building blocks for a better life in a sustainable society. Imec is headquartered in Leuven, Belgium, and has offices in Belgium, the Netherlands, Taiwan, USA, China, India and Japan. Its staff of about 2,200 people includes almost 700 industrial residents and guest researchers. In 2014, imec's revenue (P&L) totaled 363 million euro. Further information on imec can be found at Stay up to date about what’s happening at imec with the monthly imec magazine, available as an app for iOS and Android or via the website 

Imec is a registered trademark for the activities of IMEC International (a legal entity set up under Belgian law as a "stichting van openbaar nut”), imec Belgium (IMEC vzw supported by the Flemish Government), imec the Netherlands (Stichting IMEC Nederland, part of Holst Centre which is supported by the Dutch Government), imec Taiwan (IMEC Taiwan Co.)and imec China (IMEC Microelectronics (Shanghai) Co. Ltd.) and imec India (Imec India Private Limited).

About Holst Centre

Holst Centre is an independent open-innovation R&D centre that develops generic technologies for Wireless Autonomous Transducer Solutions and for Systems-in-Foil. A key feature of Holst Centre is its partnership model with industry and academia around shared roadmaps and programs. It is this kind of cross-fertilization that enables Holst Centre to tune its scientific strategy to industrial needs.

Holst Centre was set up in 2005 by imec (Flanders, Belgium) and TNO (The Netherlands) with support from the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and the Government of Flanders. It is named after Gilles Holst, a Dutch pioneer in Research and Development and first director of Philips Research.

Located on High Tech Campus Eindhoven, Holst Centre benefits from the state-of-the-art on-site facilities. Holst Centre has over 180 employees from around 28 nationalities and a commitment from more than 45 industrial partners.
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About Methods2Business

Founded in 2010, Methods2Business is a totally new, internationally oriented European design center building the next generation semiconductor Intellectual Property (IP) products for Wi-Fi™ communication in modern electronic devices. The company is headquartered in Eindhoven, the Netherlands and has an engineering team in Novi Sad, region Vojvodina in Serbia.

Besides a passion for design methods and first time right IP products, Methods2Business also has a strong sense for collaboration. The company has strategic partnerships with big players in EDA and collaborates with like-minded, but non competing IP providers to jointly deliver complete SoC solutions for the new Wi-Fi HaLow™ 802.11ah standard for the IoT.



Hanne Degans
Press officer and external communications specialist
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