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A wireless personal area network (WPAN) (sometimes referred to as a personal area network (PAN)) is a computer network used for communication among personal devices close to the same person, such as between a headset and a personal audio CD or MP3 player, or between a digital camera and a laptop computer.[1]


WPAN can be used for communication between the personal devices themselves, or for connecting to a higher-level network, such as a home network between two or more computers, and to the Internet. The devices may or may not belong to the same person.

WPAN uses point-to-point or peer-to-peer technology without the need for a wireless router, thus reducing infrastructure costs. The reach of a WPAN is typically a few meters. Bluetooth technology is commonly used to establish these types of networks.

WPANs are growing with the advent of wireless USB, a wireless type of networking using ultra-wide band (UWB) radio technology.[2] Wireless USB uses the unlicensed 3.4-10.6 GHz frequency band for UWB communication devices and aims at eliminating cables to allow computer peripherals and multimedia devices to interconnect.[3] Wireless USB offers speeds up to 480 mbps over a range of 30-45 feet.


  1. The IEEE family of standards for WPANs is 802.15.x.
  2. See Cameron Wilmot, "Intel Demonstrates fast new Ultra-Wideband WPAN at IDF Fall Taiwan 2006," (Oct. 17, 2006) (full-text).
  3. See 47 C.F.R. §15.517.