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Wireless Personal Area Networks: Applications, Assessment Technologies and Markets Issue II

  • ID: 686995
  • Report
  • PracTel Inc
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  • Airbee (Software)
  • iDent
  • Intermec
  • Nokia
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This report addresses marketing and technical issues of WPANs as well as their applications. This is the second issue of the report; information is updated and the analysis of the Near Field Communications (for WPAN applications) is added.

WPANs represent a significant shift in wireless networking technology, which has generally been targeted at devices like laptops where power consumption is not a major issue. WPAN technology emphasizes constructing reliable links over low-power radios, but often at the cost of a reduced data rate compared to Wi-Fi. The networks define a new paradigm – the user becomes “enveloped” by a network bubble, which “attached” to a user and moves along with his/her movements.

Wireless networking standards like 802.11b and 802.16 typically focus on providing PC-to-PC or PC-to-ISP connectivity over the range of a building or even a metropolitan area. However, many applications have far less stringent range requirements, such as connecting peripherals wirelessly to a mobile device or adding components to a home theater system. Wireless Personal Area Networks are a perfect fit for these applications: they offer a wide variety of data rates, low power consumption and are supported by several transmission technologies.

In this report, we discussed the following approaches to WPAN radio:

-UWB, and

802.15.4 (ZigBee) is exchanging rate of transmission for power. 802.15.4 radio offers data rates of up to 250 Kb/s, and can easily support links with a very low duty cycle. Hence, it is suitable for deployment in battery-powered devices that must survive for up to several years between charges/changes of a power supply. 802.15.4 has already found wide acceptance in the wireless sensor network community, and used also in WPANs for a variety of applications.

NFC technology is evolving as a leading technology for very short distances of communications. Near Field Communication is a standards-based, short-range wireless connectivity technology that enables simple and safe two-way interactions among electronic devices. NFC technology allows consumers to perform contactless transactions, access digital content and connect devices with the simplicity of a single touch. WPAN and Body WPAN applications of this technology are becoming very important.

UWB radios emit low-power, high-bandwidth pulses that deliver data rates comparable to wired Ethernet (100 Mb/s and up). Its high data rates and low power consumption make it ideal for replacing short wired links. Unfortunately, IEEE standardization of UWB has failed (so far), resulting in two incompatible standards: DS-UWB that was advocated by the UWB Forum; and MB-OFDM, advocated by the WiMedia Alliance. The UWB market is still immature, but already includes WPAN applications.

The early entry into the WPAN paradigm, Bluetooth, has already been widely deployed in hundreds of millions of devices. It offers data rates of up to 3 Mb/s and ranges of up to 100 m, with far lower power consumption than 802.11b. Its middleware layer builds on top of the PHY and MAC layers to provide a high degree of interoperability among Bluetooth-equipped devices. This low power consumption and interoperability guarantee have fueled Bluetooth's acceptance in the WPANs. It is important to note the days of the 802.15.1 radio layer may be numbered. The Bluetooth SIG has recently announced plans to abandon the 802.15.1 PHY and MAC layers in some future version of the Bluetooth standard, and instead to deploy the middleware components on top of a variant of the WiMedia UWB standard (though now it is revising this direction in favor of the 802.11n technology). Depending on how the radio stack is implemented, this shift may increase Bluetooth's data rate by many times, cutting power consumption.

This report also shows that WPAN technologies are in the process of development and research, and such technologies as NFC and Wibee are examples to this statement. Enhancements of low-powered wireless technologies that we are witnessing in the resent years made it possible to talk even about such transmission environments as a human body (Wireless Body Area Networks-IEEE802.15.6), where information is coded, for example, by changes in the skin characteristics.

The report also discusses a variety of WPAN applications: from home automation to homeland security and first responders’ communications; and examines marketing issues of WPAN and applicable radio technologies that support this class of network.

Research Methodology:

Considerable research was done using the Internet. Information from various Web sites was studied and analyzed. Evaluation of publicly available marketing and technical publications was conducted. Telephone conversations and interviews were held with industry analysts, technical experts and executives. In addition to these interviews and primary research, secondary sources were used to develop a more complete mosaic of the market landscape, including industry and trade publications, conferences and seminars.

The overriding objective throughout the work has been to provide valid and relevant information. This has led to a continual review and update of the information content.

Target Audience:

This report is important to a wide population of researches, technical and sales staff involved in the developing of wireless services and products. It is recommended for both service providers and vendors that are working with related technologies. The report also helps to understand issues associated with relationship between WPAN communications and other technologies.
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  • Airbee (Software)
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1.0 Introduction


1.2 Networking

1.3 Definition

1.4 4G and WPAN

1.5 Scope

1.6 Research Methodology

1.7 Target Audience

2.0 WPAN and Radio Technologies

2.1 Ultra Wide Band

2.1.1 General: History

2.1.2 Obstacles

2.1.3 Benefits

2.1.4 Definition

2.1.5 Rates

2.1.6 Spectrum Allocation

2.1.7 Choices

2.1.8 Major Features

2.1.9 Standards and Regulations Multiband OFDM DS-UWB Groups ECMA WiNET EC

2.1.10 Major Applications

2.1.11 Market Estimate General Geographical Segmentation Forecast

2.1.12 UWB and WLAN


2.1.14 Industry

2.2 ZigBee

2.2.1 General

2.2.2 Device Types

2.2.3 Protocol Stack Physical and MAC Layers - IEEE802.15.4 Frame

2.2.4 Upper Layers

2.2.5 Interoperability

2.2.6 Security

2.2.7 Platform Considerations Battery Life

2.2.8 Technology Benefits and Limitations

2.2.9 Standardization Process ZigBee Alliance Objectives 802.15.4- ZigBee Basis IEEE 802.15.4 Radio Application Specifics

2.2.10 ZigBee Role

2.2.11 Market Expectations Segments Forecast

2.2.12 Industry
2.3 IEEE 802.15.1 (Bluetooth)

2.3.1 General

2.3.2 Transport layer Radio Layer

2.3.3 Baseband and Link Layers

2.3.4 Middleware Layer

2.3.5 Bluetooth Security

2.3.6 Highlights

2.3.7 Market

2.4 Near Field Communications (NFC)

2.4.1 General

2.4.2 Characteristics

2.4.3 Standards General ECMA (Near Field Communication Interface and Protocol: NFCIP-1) ISO NFC Forum General Specifications

2.4.4 Applications General Primary Users Mobile Phone - Major Application Example Danger

2.4.5 WPAN Applications

3.0 Standardization Process for WPAN

3.1 IEEE 802.15 WPAN Task Group 3 (TG3)

3.2 IEEE 802.15.4

3.2.1 Requirements

3.2.2 Properties

3.2.3 IEEE 802.15.4 in Wireless Family

3.2.4 Relationship between IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee

3.2.5 Approaches UWB and Bluetooth

3.3 ECMA - 368

3.4 IEEE 802.15 WPAN Millimeter Wave Alternative PHY Task Group 3c (TG3c)

3.5 IEEE 802.15 WPAN Low Rate Alternative PHY Task Group 4a (TG4a)

3.6 IEEE 802.15 WPAN Task Group 4b (TG4b)

3.7 IEEE 802.15 WPAN Task Group 5 (TG5)

3.8 The Impact of Standards

4.0 WPAN Specifics: Summary

4.1 Definition

4.2 Types

4.2.1 Bands and Geography

4.3 WPAN and WLAN

4.4 Networking

4.5 Details

4.6 ZigBee and Bluetooth: Comparison

5.0 WPAN Applications

5.1 Retailers

5.2 Route Delivery

5.3 Industrial/Commercial Applications

5.4 Ad Hoc Networking

5.4.1 Sharing Data in Meetings

5.5 Body-Centric Communication

5.5.1 Intra-Body Communications

5.6 Public Safety Communications (PSC)

5.7 Space

5.8 Healthcare

5.9 Military

6.0 Market: WPAN

6.1 Driving Forces

6.2 Market Estimate

7.0 Industry

Airbee (Software)

Dynastream Innovations Inc. (Acquired by Garmin in 2006)

iDent (Skinplex)

Nokia (Wibree)

NTT (redtacton)

8.0 Conclusions

List of Figures:

Figure 1: WPAN Place

Figure 2: UWB Spectrum

Figure 3: DS-UWB Spectrum Characteristics

Figure 4: Spectrum Regulations-UWB

Figure 5: Market Estimate: UWB Circuitry ($B)

Figure 6: Market Estimate: UWB IC Shipments (Unit M)

Figure 7: Estimate of UWB Market - Communications Applications ($B)

Figure 8: ZigBee Protocol Stack

Figure 9: Estimate: ZigBee Chipsets Market Worlwide ($M)

Figure 10: Estimate: ZigBee Chipsets Market Worlwide (Million Units)

Figure 11: ZigBee Market Segmentation (2006)

Figure 12: ZigBee Market Segmentation (2013)

Figure 13: Bluetooth Protocol Stack

Figure 14: Piconets Illustration

Figure 15: Global Bluetooth Revenue Market Forecast ($B)

Figure 16: Standardization

Figure 17: NFC ECMA and ISO Standards

Figure 18: ISO Protocols

Figure 19: NFC Forum Activities

Figure 20: Mobile Phone with NFC

Figure 21: Cell Phones Addressable Market (Millions Units)

Figure 22: Cell Phones and Accessories-Addressable market ($B)

Figure 23: NFC-able Cell Phones: Addressable Market (Units Million)

Figure 24: NFC-able Cell Phones: Addressable Market ($M)

Figure 25: NFC-able Cell Phone Rate of Penetration

Figure 26: NFC Electronics Market Estimate ($M)

Figure 27: NFC Market Geography

Figure 28: WPAN Market Estimate ($B)

Figure 29: WPAN Market- Radio Technology Sectors (2009-2013)

Figure 30: WPAN Market- Geographical Segmentation (2009-2013)

Figure 31: WPAN Market - Major Applications Segmentation

List of Tables:

Table 1: Comparison: DS-UWB and MB-OFDM

Table 2: Parameters

Table 3: NFC Features

Table 4: NFC History

Table 5: Current IEEE 802.15 Working Group Activities

Table 6: Comparison
Table 7: IEEE802.15.4 Standard Properties

Table 8: IEEE 802.15.4 and Competition

Table 9: IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee

Table 10: Sample: WPAN Family of Standards

Table 11: Regulations for Unlicensed Operation in the 2.45GHz Band

Table 12: Regulations for Unlicensed Operations in the 5 GHz Band
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Some Companies Mentioned:

- Airbee (Software)

- Dynastream Innovations Inc. (Acquired by Garmin in 2006)

- iDent

- Intermec

- Nokia

Note: Product cover images may vary from those shown