WPAN Technologies for IoT/M2M

IoT and M2M

Internet of Things (IoT) devices connect to real-world entities to send and receive data connecting to the internet. Here “Things” defines any entities that exist physically like watches, health monitoring devices, home appliances, traffic systems, etc. These devices analyze information from the surroundings and even make decisions with less human interaction and results are sent through the connected network to the receiver end. The receiver end can be any device like Laptop, PC, tablet, iPad, etc. This technology connects people with places and things from their comfortable environment and time constraints that are never imagined before in the automated world.

Machine to Machine (M2M) is a connection between two or more devices to share functions and data within the same network. They can share, analyze and send data within the connected devices without human intervention and it can be possible with or without an internet facility. This technology is mostly used in remote monitoring areas like medicine, warehouse domains, and manufacturing sectors in large organizations. It acts as a subset of IoT devices for the data transmission process to the devices that are connected within the network. This technology also supports interaction with devices used in home environments like security systems, smart locks, remote controllers, etc.

WPAN Technology

Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) also termed a Personal Area Network that connects devices to the network within a shorter distance. This communicates with the devices within one’s personal space at a lower cost. Devices can be of any type as laptop, Mobiles, sensors, barcode reader, printers, speakers, etc. that supports PAN features. Both wired and wireless PAN can be set up based on the user's needs, wired connection needs USB configurations, and Bluetooth, IrDA (infrared), Wi-Fi, Z-wave, etc. are needed for wireless setup.

It allows the users to connect all of the devices and they communicate with each other with an internet facility within shorter distances. This technology is helpful in medical sectors to monitor respiration, pH values, Glucose levels, and heartbeat rate within the patient place and updated information is sent to the configured device through an internet connection.

A few examples where WPAN can be used are smart wearable devices, Digital cameras, Wi-Fi-enabled devices, Lighting controls, medical equipment, a Sensor system for door locks, etc.

Technologies like Bluetooth, Infrared, Zigbee, Z-wave, and Wireless Body Area Networks that are used for WPAN connections vary in frequency, bandwidth, coverage, transfer speed, and end users.

Technologies that support IoT/M2M applications

1) Bluetooth

This provides short-range communication by transmitting radio waves to devices with wireless connections. Devices like printers, speakers, headsets, keyboards, smartwatches, mobile phones, laptops, etc. can be connected to the Bluetooth option. The device which initiates the connection for data transfer is called a piconet (master device) and other devices that accept the connection are termed slaves.

It provides a shorter range from 10m to 100m with a frequency range of 2.4 GHz and supports bandwidth from 720 kbps to 10 Mbps. This technology can discover devices automatically within less distance from the master device and it can interact with connected devices by sharing files such as text words, pictures, video content, contact information, and much more.

2) IrDA

Infrared Data Association which uses infrared waves for high-speed data transmission with a low-cost standard. It supports a wide range of devices to provide point-to-point data transfer wirelessly. Devices that are listed in Bluetooth in the above statements also support Infrared communications along with IR spectroscopy and IR photography etc. Consider an example to print any file, the user should enable the infrared port in the printer and connect to the source device to share the data without any cabling options.

This technology provides coverage range from 1m to 2m and a speed of data transfer from 9600 Mbps to 4 Mbps with a frequency range 300 GHz to 400 THz. IR devices consume less power and battery life is extended for a longer time.

3) IEEE 802.15

This standard provides options to connect to IoT devices wirelessly at a low cost using the Wi-Fi-enabling option. With the advancement in this IEEE group, the 802.15 standard supports Personal Area Networks at a wide range. This allows devices as specified earlier in addition to other peripherals, smart devices, consumer products, etc. This has the foundations of Bluetooth technology and 802.11 which use MAC and physical layers for data transmission. To support devices within the network and to enhance interoperability features IEEE has formed groups which include WPAN 802.15.1, 802.15.2, 802 15.3, 802.15.4 and 802.15.5

802.15.5 is the recent standard developed with frequency of 2.5GHz, bandwidth range 1Mbps to 20+Mbps and coverage distance 10m to 100m.

4) ZigBee

This belongs to IEEE 802.15.4 group and aims to provide networking features to the home environment and medium groups with sensor devices connected. This provides low-cost data transfer within short-range devices connected to wireless devices used for home appliances that use ZigBee protocol for communicating with smart devices. It works on star and peer-to-peer topologies with three node types such as ZigBee coordinator, Router, and an End user device.

Wi-Fi range that covers the distance from 10m to 100m with a data rate of up to 250Kbps with lower power consumption and can support up to 65000 devices.

5) Z-wave

This wireless technology is used mainly for residential and automotive appliances that are made more secure and smart. Z-wave products include thermostats, security door locks, lighting, scanners, automatic sensors, etc. All these are possible by creating a smart hub connection that has internet-sharing options within the environment. The electrical devices are controlled using Remote control and signals that transmit radio waves at a lower cost. It has physical coverage from 100 to 800 meters with a frequency range of 900Hz and a data transfer rate of up to 100Kbps.

WPAN technologies enable intelligent IoT devices to communicate and process and analyze the data with each other without human intervention within a shorter range of similar networks. Applications include home automation, medical video streaming, education, gaming, smart vehicles, and much more. Most of the devices in recent years have options like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and inbuilt protocols, and even advanced features are added to make it an as smart device that serves customer needs.

Updated on: 11-Apr-2023


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