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IEEE Releases Report on Power Saving IoT Wake-Up Radio Initiative

November 30, 2017 By Molly White in

The IEEE has taken aim at one of the biggest obstacles to the success of the IoT. It has published a report on Wake-Up Radio, which is a technology from the 802.11ba Standards Task Group.

The millions and perhaps billions of IoT devices must be powered. This is a huge logistical challenge due to both their sheer numbers and the fact that many are in hard to reach places. Wake-Up Radio is one of the initiatives aimed at meeting this challenge.

IoT Wake-Up Radio

The IEEE says that the basis of the issue is that devices must enter sleep mode when they are not in use. However, the longer they are in sleep mode the worse performance is. In other words, performance and long battery life are conflicting goals. Wake-Up Radio cleverly avoids this issue by introducing a second radio whose sole purpose is to listen for data being sent to the device. Since this is the only element that consumes energy most of the time, less energy is expended. When data is sent the main Wi-Fi radio is awakened by what in essence is an electronic alarm clock.

There are many vertical industries and use cases that fit the Wake Up Radio profile. “IEEE Wake-Up Radio is an add-on to existing IEEE 802.11 radios that substantially improves power-saving performance of IEEE 802, removing the need to compromise between power savings and latency,” Adrian Stephens, chair of the IEEE 802.11 Working Group said in a press release. “This makes the technology suitable for a new class of battery-powered devices that will drive innovation and exciting new applications in the market.”