Wireless mesh

The IEEE has approved the start of work on four projects concerning IEEE 802.15 wireless personal area network (WPAN) standards.

The projects involve a wireless mesh topology standard for WPAN devices and alterations to the high-rate WPAN standard so it supports new wireless multimedia uses more effectively. Two other projects were started for ultra-low-power WPANs: one will create an alternate PHY and the other will correct and extend the base standard.

IEEE P802.15.5, “Recommended Practices for Mesh Topology Capability in Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs),” will provide an architectural framework for interoperable, stable and scaleable wireless mesh topologies for WPAN devices. Mesh topologies can extend network coverage without increasing transmission power or receiver sensitivity.

They also can improve reliability via route redundancy, easier network configuration and longer device battery life. IEEE P802.15.3b, “Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: Amendment to MAC Sublayer,” will modify IEEE 802.15.3 to improve the ease of implementation and interoperability.

This will include minor optimisations while preserving backward compatibility. In addition, this amendment will correct errors, clarify ambiguities, and add editorial clarifications.

IEEE P802.15.4a, “Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications: Alternate Physical Layer Extension for Low Rate Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN),” will provide an alternate WPAN PHY to meet evolving user needs for ultra-low-complexity, ultra-low-cost, ultra-low-power WPAN communications.

It will provide for precision ranging accurate to one metre or less, improved communication range, improved link robustness and the ability to support mobility. It also will continue to support coexisting networks of sensors, controllers, and logistic and peripheral devices in multiple, compliant co-located systems.

IEEE P802.15.4-REVb, “Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) Specifications for Low Rate Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN),” will revise the IEEE 802.15.4-2003 standard to remove ambiguities.

It also will extend the base standard by adding a method for shared time-base distribution and supporting new frequency allocations in Europe, China and Japan.

The projects are sponsored by the IEEE Computer Society.