Wireless Body Area Network

In today’s world, wireless communication has a major application in sharing of information anywhere and at anytime. We can use wireless networks in the form of WLAN or WiFi in various fields such as education, healthcare and industrial sector. As the technology is growing, the demands of users as well as the demand of ubiquitous networking is increasing. WBAN(Wireless Body Area Network) allows the user to move another without having the restriction of a cable for sharing information.

The term ‘Wireless Body Area Network’ was coined in 2001 by Van Dam. It basically is a network containing sensor nodes which are attached to the human body, used to measure the bio signals(heart rate, blood pressure, brain signals etc.) of humans. It has majority of applications in medical sector.

The communication in body sensor networks is of 2 types:

  • In-body communication
  • On-body communication

In-body communication is the communication between sensor nodes which are implanted inside human body. The MICS (Medical Implant Communication System) communication can be used only for in-body communication. On-body communication occurs between wearable devices which consist of sensor nodes. The ISM (Industrial Scientific and Medical) band and UWB (Ultra-wide band) communication can be used only for on-body communication.

WBAN requirements:



  • Low power consumption
  • Interoperability
  • Self-healing
  • Security
  • Low latency

WBAN architecture:
The network architecture is divided into 4 sections-

  1. WBAN Part –
    It contains several number of cheap and low-power sensor nodes, which can be used for continuous monitoring of heart rate, ECG, blood pressure etc. of a person. Being wireless in nature, this does not restrict the mobility of the person for continuous evaluation. Hence, WBAN is used in healthcare systems for patients monitoring.
  2. CCU (Central Control Unit) –
    All sensor nodes provide their outputs to a central coordination node present in the CCU. CCU receives the signals from nodes and transmits it to the next section for monitoring the human body.

  3. WBAN communication –
    Receives information from CCU and acts as gateway to transfer information to the destination. For ex. mobile node is a gateway to remote station to send message to cellular network using GSM/3G/4G.

  4. Control center –
    It is responsible for storing the information of user which can be used in the future or for monitoring purpose. It consists of end node devices like mobile phones(for messaging), computer systems (for monitoring) and server(for storing information in database).

WBAN applications:
These are various application:

1. Medical Applications:

  • Remote healthcare monitoring – Sensors are put on patient’s body to monitor heart rate, blood pressure and ECG.
  • Telemedicine – Provides healthcare services over a long distance with the help of IT and communication.

2. Non-medical Applications:

  • Sports – Sensors can be used to measure navigation, timer, distance, pulse rate and body temperature.
  • Military – Can be used for communication between soldiers and sending information about attacking, retreating or running to their base commander.
  • Lifestyle and entertainment – Wirless music player and making video calls.

WBAN is legal, affordable and user friendly. It is an emerging technology and is expected to have a big impact on the society.

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