Everything about WPAN: Wireless Personal Area Network

Everything about WPAN: Wireless Personal Area Network

A Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN for short) is a low-range wireless network that covers an area of only a few dozen meters. This network is generally used for linking peripheral devices (like printers, cellphones, and home appliances), a PDA to a computer, or just two nearby computers without using a hard-wired connection. There are several kinds of technology used for WPAN.

What are the types of WPAN networks?

  • Bluetooth: the leading WPAN technology is Bluetooth, launched by Ericsson in 1994, which offers a maximum throughput of 1 Mbps over a maximum range of about thirty meters. Bluetooth, also known as IEEE 802.15.1, is very energy-efficient, making it particularly well-suited to use in small devices.

  • HomeRF (for Home Radio Frequency), launched in 1998 by the HomeRF Working Group, has a maximum throughput of 10 Mbps with a range of about 50 to 100 meters without an amplifier. The HomeRF standard, despite Intel's support, was abandoned in January 2003, mainly because processor manufacturers had started to support onboard Wi-Fi (via Centrino technology, which included a microprocessor and a Wi-Fi adapter on a single component).

  • ZigBee (also known as IEEE 802.15.4): it can be used to connect devices wirelessly at a very low cost and with little energy consumption, which makes it particularly well-suited for being directly integrated into small electronic appliances (like home appliances, stereos, and toys). It operates on the frequency band of 2.4 GHz and, on 16 channels, can reach transfer speeds of up to 250 Kbps with a maximum range of about 100 meters.

  • Infrared: the transmission is done directly, whereby the devices must remain close together and in the same position during data transmission. Nowadays, it is rarely used. IrDA(Infrared Data Association) was formed in 1995.

  • Wireless USB: short-range, high-bandwidth wireless radio communication protocol created by the Wireless USB Promoter Group. This method uses radio wave technology at 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz frequencies. A wireless USB adapter enables data communication between computers and the wireless local area network (WLAN). The adapter is connected to the computer's USB port and, in most cases, works in plug&play mode, as no additional drivers are required for operation.

How to create a WPAN network?

You will need the following components:

  • We will need a device that functions as a transmitter, which is the one that will initiate the transmission.

  • We will also need another device that functions as a receiver to receive the signal.

  • Both must be connected on the same channel, referring to the technology used (Bluetooth, ZigBee…).
wpan network
© WPAN

What are WPAN's advantages and disadvantages?

Advantages:

  • Simple and cost-effective installation.
  • Enables connection of a large number of mobile devices.
  • Mobility.

Disadvantages:

  • They are less safe than wired networks.
  • Lower bandwidth.
  • Interference.