Abstract: Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs) is an emerging technology for future short range indoor and outdoor multimedia and data centric applications. Two types of WPANs have been standardized by the IEEE 802.15 working group; namely: High data Rate WPANs (HR-WPANs) and Low data Rate WPANs (LR-WPANs). These standards define the network architecture, the physical layer and the medium access control sublayer for these systems. A tremendous number of performance studies through mathematical analysis and simulation have been published. Also, many products have appeared in the market which indicate a clear sign of a quick acceptance to the published standards. An organized review of the network architecture, the physical layer specifications, the Medium Access Control (MAC) protocols and the general network operation concepts of the WPAN systems deserves time and effort to be presented in a collective manner. In this paper we describe the concept of WPANs and its applications. Then, the communication architecture and the allocated frequency spectrum for WPAN operation are explained. The developed MAC sublayer protocols in the literature are explored.
Keywords: Wireless personal area networks, Wireless sensor networks, Multimedia applications, MAC protocols performance analysis, WPAN architecture