WPAN (Wireless Personal Area Network)

A Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN for short) is a low-range wireless network which covers an area of only a few dozen metres. This sort of 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.

Types of WPAN networks

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

  • HomeRF (for Home Radio Frequency), launched in 1998 by HomeRF Working Group, has a maximum throughput of 10 Mbps with a range of about 50 to 100 metres without an amplifier. The HomeRF standard, despite Intel's support, was abandoned in January 2003, largely because processor manufacturers had started to support on-board 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 metres.

  • Infrared: the transmission is done in a direct way, 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. Wireless USB adapter enables data communication between computers and the wireless local area network (WLAN). The adapter is connected to the USB port of the computer, and in most cases works in plug&play mode, as no additional drivers are required for operation.

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 type of technology used (Bluetooth, ZigBee…).

Advantages and disadvantages


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


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

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