Digital Communication


Digital Communication

Personal Network: Definition and Benefits


A personal area network, abbreviated PAN or PAN network for Personal Area Network, is a network that connects devices together over a short distance. For example, this type of network allows the connection of a mouse to a computer.

Personal network: definition

A Personal Area Network is one of the types of networks for linking together devices located in the immediate vicinity of the user. A personal network is designed specifically to facilitate the connecting small devices to each other. No need for a router or direct access to the Internet to establish this connection: the personal network allows small devices or terminals to exchange data with each other or to create an ad hoc network.

The connection is made either wirelessly or by cable within a few meters. Depending on the technology used, a visual link may be necessary. Different technologies can be used to establish a wireless connection to create a personal network:

  • Bluetooth;
  • Infrared (IrDA);
  • Wireless.

A wired personal area network typically uses a connection through a USB port.

The benefits of personal networks

Personal networks offer many advantages through their operation. Compared to WAN and LAN networks, here are their characteristic positive points:

  • Simplicity of network components: no need for routers, switches or other network components;
  • Better safety thanks to its short range: as its name suggests, a personal network is limited to a short distance, in the immediate vicinity of the person;
  • Ease of connection establishment: connecting devices through a Personal Area Network is simple, fast and easy;
  • Low power consumption: a personal network consumes less energy and can be powered by a battery or an accumulator for an extended period.

Personal Network: Key Features

The transmission rates of a Personal Area Network remain relatively low, of the order of a few [mégaoctets par seconde]. Setting up the connection is simple, wired or wireless. The connection order of the connected devices may differ depending on the network topology. These may be, for example, point-to-point connections or point-to-multipoint connections. The following paragraph explains the key differences between a wired personal area network and a wireless personal area network.

WPAN: the wireless personal area network

A wireless Personal Area Network (also called WPAN) allows devices to be connected without cables. The connection is made by itself and there is no no need for ports for plugs or cables. Many personal networks used every day use wireless technology. Her range remains low and is limited to a distance of ten meters. Walls and other disruptors strongly affect the quality of the connection, with fairly low data rates.

Wired personal area network

Wired PAN is used much less on a daily basis. The length of the cable is often limited to a few centimeters. Its main advantage over wireless connection via WPAN is its higher transmission rate.

Examples of personal networks

In recent years, the fields of application of NAPs have multiplied. Personal networks make everyday life easier with a simple use of technological aids.

For example, when connecting a Bluetooth device like a mouse, printer, or headset to a smartphone or laptop, chances are it will be through a home network. Sitting in a car equipped with a hands-free kit, the smartphone connects to it by PAN. Game console controllers are also often connected via a personal network.

In addition to connecting devices, personal networks are also used to exchange files from one device to another. Such networks are generally used to create local hotspots through Tethering.

Personal networks are also used in theinternet of things : these allow devices and components to communicate with each other. The components thus exchange control and command data. In the field of home automation, personal networks are communication bridges between sensors and actuators.

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