In this article, we compare four distinct protocols for different wireless communication solutions. ZigBee, Bluetooth, and Ultra Wideband (UWB) represent some of IEEE standards for wireless personal area network (WPAN). WPAN applications transmit information over a short distance between a group of devices and are usually self contained with little or no need of connecting directly with devices outside the group. Wi-Fi is a wireless local area network (WLAN) standard. WLAN applications need to connect with external devices outside the group. Our goal is to provide a better understanding of these emergent technologies, highlighting their characteristics and the critical issues of their protocol designs. All four wireless technologies presented here have their physical layer (PHY) and medium access control layer (MAC) defined as an IEEE standard. This article is organized as follows: the first section introduces each one of these protocols. A comparison of these protocols is presented in the second section, mainly focusing on transmission range, operating frequency, data rate, modulation scheme, interference and coexistence mechanisms, network size, security, authentication, and QoS. Lastly, the article is concluded with some final remarks.
Key Terms in this Chapter
Personal Area Network (PAN) Coordinator: If a coordinator is the main controller of a personal area network (PAN), it is called the PAN coordinator.
Access Point (AP): Any device that provides access to the distribution services via the wireless communication for associated stations.
Personal Identification Number (PIN): A user-friendly number that can be used to authenticate connections to a device before pairing has taken place.
Basic Service Set (BSS): A set of stations controlled by a single coordination function.
Authentication: The service used to establish the identity of one device as a member of the set of devices authorized to communicate securely to other devices in the set.
Coexistence: The ability of one system to perform a task in a given shared environment where other systems have an ability to perform their tasks and may or may not be using the same set of rules.
Independent Basic Service Set (IBSS): A BSS that forms a self-contained network and in which no access to a distribution system (DS) is available.
Wireless Ad Hoc Network: A wireless network established in a spontaneous manner that requires no network infrastructure or centralized administration.
Piconet: A collection of one or more logically associated devices that share a single identifier with a common coordinator.
Scatternet: Two or more piconets that include one or more devices participating in more than one piconet.