What is a Personal Area Network?

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What Is Personal Area Network

PAN is short for Personal Area Network. Like a WLAN (wireless local network), it is also a computer network, intended for communication among computers as well as mobile devices like PDAs and cell phone. But unlike WLAN, it allows interconnection of communication technology devices within the range of an individual person, typically 10 meters but it can even reach 100 meters under optimal conditions. The conceptual difference between a PAN and a WLAN is that the PAN tends to be centred around a single person while WLAN is a local area network (LAN) that is connected without wires, serving multiple users.

A wireless personal area network is made up with network technologies like Bluetooth, infrared, Z-Wave, etc. PAN allows communications among different personal devices such as laptop, a printer, a fax machine, etc. For example, you might be travelling with your laptop, a PDA and a portable printer and would want to interconnect them, without having to plug anything in. Such a communication is called intrapersonal communication. PAN can also be wired with computers through USB or FireWire. Moreover, PAN is also used for connecting to a higher level network and the Internet.

When a wireless connection is used for the interconnection of communication technology devices, it is referred to as a wireless PAN (WPAN). Such an example is of a Bluetooth PAN, called piconet, where 8 active devices creates a link among each other and the first one to act is a master device and the remaining seven are slave. In this master-slave kinship, all the slaves communicate with others through the master.

“Plugging in” is a concept associated with WPAN technology that make things simpler. It prevents unnecessary interference or unauthorized access to the information when two WPAN-equipped devices come close or within a few kilometers of a central server.

A WPAN allows all the ordinary computing and communication devices that we often use, to interconnect with each other. It could also serve a greater purpose, such as to allow a doctor and other medical staff to communicate with each other during an operation.

The WPAN technology is new and is developing rapidly. The aim of its developers is to facilitate seamless operation between home and business devices. As soon as WPANs start operating in all the corners of the world, it will be an immense breakthrough in the communications world. We will then see people accessing their information from locations miles away while sitting in their homes.