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Overview of Personal Area Network (PAN)

  • Difficulty Level : Expert
  • Last Updated : 05 Aug, 2021

Computer network is a set of interconnected computers/devices where the interconnection is established in an aim of communication between the computers/devices to share resources, data and applications. There exits different types of computer networks which designed to operate over the area they cover and as per network requirements, service type, network coverage area they are classified. 

Personal Area Network (PAN) is a the computer network that connects computers/devices within the range of an individual person. As PAN provides a network range within a person’s range typically within a range of 10 meters(33 feet) it is called as Personal Area Network. A Personal Area Network typically involves a computer, phone, tablet, printer, PDA (Personal Digital Assistant) and other and other entertainment devices like speakers, video game consoles etc. 

Thomas Zimmerman and other researchers at M.I.T.’s Media Lab first developed the concept of PAN. It is very useful in home, offices and small network areas due to its high performance in terms of flexibility and efficiency. 

Types of Personal Area Network (PAN) : 
Personal Area Network can be of 2 types depending upon its connection i.e., Wireless PAN, and Wired PAN. 
These are explained as following below. 


  1. Wireless PAN – 
    Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) is connected through signals such as infrared, ZigBee, Bluetooth and ultrawideband etc.
  2. Wired PAN – 
    Wired PAN is connected through cables/wires such as Firwire or USB (Universal Serial Bus).

Examples of PAN : 

  • Body Area Network – 
    It is a mobile network that moves with a persona range for example when person connects his smart phone to the Bluetooth headphone and moves in the market that refers to a body area network.
  • Offline Network – 
    In this multiple devices are connected through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. The devices attached to your computer including printers, mouse, speakers, and other appliances are integrated using a Personal Area Network (PAN) and do not use internet. So a communication network is formed between the devices used in a small single space for example home. 
  • Home Office – 
    In Home Office setup a separate smaller network is setup for work purpose which is separate from the network used by other home appliances. This network works as a separate body with multiple other devices connected for office work purpose.

Advantages and disadvantages of PAN – 
These are some of the Advantages of PAN : 

  • PAN is relatively flexible and provides high efficiency for short network range.
  • It needs easy setup and relatively low cost.
  • It does not require frequent installations and maintenance
  • It is easy portable.
  • Needs less technical skill to use.

These are some of the disadvantages of PAN : 

  • Low network coverage area/range.
  • Limited to relatively low data rates.
  • Devices are not compatible with each other.
  • Inbuilt WPAN devices are little bit costly.

Applications of PAN – 

  • Home and Offices
  • Organizations and Business sector
  • Medical and Hospital
  • School and College Education
  • Military and Defense


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