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Wi-SUN Vs WiFi | Difference between Wi-SUN and WiFi

This page compares Wi-SUN Vs WiFi and mentions difference between Wi-SUN and WiFi.

What is Wi-SUN ?

Wi-SUN technology has been established in 2011. It follows IEEE 802.15.4g standard for Physical layer and uses IPv6 protocols for IPv6 addressing over 802.15.4 network. It is designed for wireless smart utility and smart city applications. Wi-SUN alliance takes care of Wi-SUN certification, interoperability, deployment and management of Wi-SUN compatible products. More than 90 million Wi-SUN compliant devices have already been installed across the world for IoT and other applications.

Wi-SUN Network Architecture

Wi-SUN uses full mesh topology for wireless communication between devices. It offers secure IPv6 communications over 802.15.4g based mesh network. Wi-SUN network architecture consists of wi-sun nodes or routers, border router and WAN connectivity. Refer Wi-SUN network architecture >> and its benefits and Wi-SUN Protocol Stack >>.

What is WiFi ?

WiFi is the short form of Wireless Fidelity. The WiFi devices follow IEEE 802.11 series of standards for their development. Over the years, various 802.11 standards have been developed to support different data rates and coverage ranges. The standards are 802.11b, 11a, 11g, 11n, 11ac, 11ax and 11be. They are called WiFi-1 to WiFi-7 respectively. The table below mentions of 802.11n, 11ac and 11ax.

WiFi features

As shown in the figure, WiFi network consists of two elements viz. clients (Stations) and a router. The function of router is to connect with WAN through broadband link which can be cellular or wired (i.e. fiber optic, ADSL, Cable modem etc.). The router operates at radio frequencies as per different bands viz. 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz or 6 GHz. One router provide connectivity to multiple wifi clients to access the single internet connection using EM waves or RF waves.

WiFi network

Refer Following links on WiFi for more insight into WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) technology.
Advantages and disadvantages of WiFi   Benefits of WiFi-7   Difference between 11a, 11b, 11g and 11n   Difference between WiFi-5 and WiFi-6   Difference between 802.11ac and 802.11ax   WiFi on Trains  

Difference between Wi-SUN and WiFi

Following table summarizes comparative difference between Wi-SUN and WiFi.

Parameters Wi-SUN WiFi
Standard IEEE 802.15.4g (PHY), IEEE 802.15.4e (MAC) IEEE 802.11b/a/g/n/ac/ax/be series defines PHY and MAC layer specifications
Frequency of operation 470-510 MHz, 779-787 MHz, 920.5-924.5 MHz, 863-870 MHz, 870-876 MHz, 920-928 MHz, 2.45 GHz 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz, 6 GHz with latest WiFi-6E/WiFi-7 releases
Data Rate Up to 300 Kbps Higher data rates, Up to 150 Mbps (as per 802.11n) and 9.6 Gbps (11ax i.e. wifi-6).
Coverage Range 4Km point to point (Using 1W output of non-directional antenna) 70 meters (Indoor) and 250 meters (Outdoor) as per 11n version
Network Capacity Approx. 300 nodes per border router Max. 256 supported by WLAN 11n routers
Latency 0.02 to 1 seconds Extremely low latency is offered by WiFi-6E version at 6 GHz unlicensed band. WiFi-6 version reduces data latency by optimization of packet scheduling which is ideal for video, voice and gaming applications.
Power consumption 2µA (Rest), 8 mA (Listening), <14 mA (Transmission) WiFi-6 compliant devices use feature called "target wake time" which reduces its power consumption to 2/3 less than previous wifi devices.
Network Topology Mesh between Wi-SUN nodes (i.e. routers) Usually Star between nodes (WiFi end devices or Stations) and a WiFi router
Network Elements Nodes (i.e. routers), border router Stations or clients and a router
Applications Smart city, Smart Home, IoT (Internet of Things), Parking, SCADA, traffic management, sensors, smart transport etc. High data rate internet browsing and device to device connectivity, used to share single broadband internet in multiple devices at home and office premises
Security Mechanism PKI, AES, IETF EAP-TLS, 802.11i, IPv6 WPA3
Modulation Types FSK, OFDM BPSK, 16QAM, 64QAM, 256 QAM, 1024QAM, 4096QAM, OFDMA

Conclusion : Both Wi-SUN and WiFi are two different types of wireless technologies which co-exist together. WiFi is based on WLAN standards (IEEE 802.11 series) where as Wi-SUN is based on PAN standard (IEEE 802.15.4). WiFi is mainly used indoors at home and office premises to share single internet connection among multiple WLAN compliant devices such as mobile phones, tablets, laptops etc. Wi-SUN is used both indoors and outdoors for smart home and smart city applications such as lighting, electricity meters, water meters, IoT (Internet of Things) etc.

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