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IEEE 802.15-Wireless Specialty Networks (WSN)

IEEE 802.15 is the working group for Wireless Specialty Networks (WSN), which are used in IoT, wearables and autonomous vehicles.


IEEE 802.15 is the working group for WSNs, or wireless specialty networks, such as wireless personal area networks (WPANs), Bluetooth, Internet of Things networks, mesh networks, body area networks, wearables, visible light communications, among others.

802.15 working group says it “focuses on the development of open consensus standards addressing wireless networking for the emerging Internet of Things (IoT), allowing these devices to communicate and interoperate with one another, mobile devices, wearables; Optical Wireless Communications (OWC), Autonomous Vehicles, etc. The goal is to publish standards, recommended practices, or guides that have broad market applicability and deal effectively with the issues of coexistence and interoperability with other wired and wireless networking solutions. The WG has completed a large body of work. Many of its standards, particularly IEEE Std. 802.15.4, are widely deployed around the world. The WG strives to be an incubator for new technologies and applications and has published the first standard utilizing the THz RF frequency bands for high speed wireless interconnection and reconfiguration of data centers.  802.15 is also the first organization to produce global standards for OWC. The IEEE 802.15 Working Group is part of the 802 Local and Metropolitan Area Network Standards Committee of the IEEE Computer Society. “


IEEE 802.15.1: Wireless Medium Access Control (MAC) and Physical Layer (PHY) specifications for Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN)
IEEE 802.15.2: Coexistence of Wireless Personal Area Networks with Other Wireless Devices Operating in Unlicensed Frequency Bands
IEEE 802.15.3: High Data Rate Wireless Multi-Media Networks
IEEE 802.15.4: Low-Rate Wireless Networks
IEEE 802.15.5: Mesh Topology Capability in Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPANs)
IEEE 802.15.6: Wireless Body Area Networks
IEEE 802.15.7: Visible Light Communication, Short-Range Optical Wireless Communications
IEEE 802.15.8: Peer Aware Communications
IEEE 802.15.9: Key Management Protocol
IEEE 802.15.10: Layer 2 Routing, Practice for Routing Packets in IEEE 802.15.4 Dynamically Changing Wireless Networks

Completed projects

  • 802.15.1
  • 802.15.2
  • 802.15.3, 3a, 3b, 3c, 3d, 3e, 3f
  • 802.15.4, 4a, 4b, 4c, 4d, 4e, 4f, 4g, 4j, 4k, 4m, 4p, 4r, 4s, 4t, 4v, 4x
  • 802.15.5
  • 802.15.6
  • 802.15.7
  • 802.15.8
  • 802.15.10a

Task Groups*

WPAN Task Group 4md (TG4md)
The standard provides for ultra low complexity, ultra low cost, ultra low power consumption, and low data rate wireless connectivity among inexpensive devices, especially targeting the communications requirements of what in now commonly referred to as the Internet of Things. In addition, some of the alternate PHYs provide precision ranging capability that is accurate to one meter. Multiple PHYs are defined to support a variety of frequency bands.

Task Group 4w (TG4w) Low Power Wide Area (LPWA)
Defining a Low Power Wide Area Network (LPWAN) extension to the IEEE Std 802.15.4 LECIM PHY layer to cover network cell radii of typically 10-15km in rural areas and deep in-building penetration in urban areas.

WPAN 15.7 Maintenance: Short-Range Optical Wireless Communications Task Group (TG 7m)
Writing a revision to IEEE 802.15.7-2011 that accommodates infrared and near ultraviolet wavelengths, in addition to visible light, and adds options such as:

  • Optical Camera Communications which enables scalable data rate, positioning/localization, and message broadcasting, etc. using devices such as the flash, display and image sensor as the transmitting and receiving devices (defined here).
  • LED-ID which is wireless light ID (Identification) system using various LEDs.

WPAN Task Group 4y (TG4y) Security Next Generation
This amendment defines security extensions to IEEE Std 802.15.4 adding AES-256-CCM plus a cipher suite/authentication method registry and a process for inclusion of additional algorithms. The registry defines a capability to align IEEE Std 802.15.4 with the security requirements of higher layer standards.

WPAN Task Group 4z Enhanced Impulse Radio
Defining a series of PHY enhancements to improve the capabilities of ultra-wideband (UWB) devices using the LRP and HRP PHY clauses. MAC changes to support the PHY changes are also being made. Specifically, this amendment enhances the HRP and LRP UWB PHYs and associated ranging techniques. Areas of enhancement include additional coding and preamble options, improvements to existing modulations to increase the integrity and accuracy of the ranging measurements, and additional information element definitions to facilitate ranging information exchange. The amendment defines MAC changes to support these PHY enhancements. Typical range of the radio is up to 100 meters.

WPAN Task Group 12 (ULI)
Defines an upper layer interface (ULI) to support and harmonize the IEEE 802.15.4 ancillary functionality, e.g. fragmentation, protocol differentiation and configuration. This standard defines an ULI sublayer in Layer 2 (L2), between Layer 3 (L3) and the IEEE 802.15.4 Media Access Control (MAC) sublayer. The ULI provides data and management service access points (SAPs) for interface to the IEEE 802.15.4 MAC. The ULI adapts L3 protocols and provides operational configuration including network and radio regulation requirements of the IEEE 802.15.4 MAC. Furthermore, the ULI integrates optional upper Layer 2 functionalities focused on interfacing to the IEEE 802.15.4 MAC such as Key Management Protocols (KMPs), L2 routing (L2R) protocols, L2 fragmentation, and Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF) IPv6 over the TimeSlotted Channel Hopping (TSCH) mode of IEEE Std 802.15.4 (6TiSCH) Operation Protocol (6TOP). Finally, the ULI provides protocol differentiation, using mechanisms such as EtherType Protocol Differentiation (EPD) to support multiple, diverse higher layer protocols, and header compression.

WPAN Task Group 13 (TG13) Multi-Gigabit/s Optical Wireless Communications
Defines a Physical (PHY) and Media Access Control (MAC) layer using light wavelengths from 10,000 nm to 190 nm in optically transparent media for optical wireless communications. The standard is capable of delivering data rates up to 10 Gbit/s at distances in the range of 200 meters unrestricted line of sight. It is designed for point-to-point and point-to-multipoint communications in both non-coordinated and coordinated topologies. For coordinated topologies with more than one peer coordinator there will be a master coordinator. The standard includes adaptation to varying channel conditions and maintaining connectivity while moving within the range of a single coordinator or moving between coordinators. TG13 continues work concerning high-rate photodiode communications (also denoted as Li-Fi) done previously in TG7r1, which is now focussing on optical camera communications (OCC). Work on 802.15.13 started in March 2017, and is expected to be completed and published in the second half of 2018.

TG22.3 Task Group 22.3 TV White Space Spectrum Characterization and Occupancy Sensing

WPAN Terahertz Interest Group (IGthz)
Focus is primarily concerned with terahertz (THz) communications and related network applications operating in the THz frequency bands between 275 and 3000GHz. Such THz communications applications would include; component to component, board to board, machine to machine, human to machine and human to human, (indoor and outdoor) wireless communications. THz communication applications cover multiple categories with varying requirements. As envisioned, THz communications would overall employ wireless modulation methods of limited complexity, omni and/or directional antenna systems, and would typically offer very high data transfer rates in multiples of 10 Gbps, and up to possibly 1 Tbps, for parity with future fiber optic capacities. THz wireless systems could support transmission distances ranging from the very short (few centimeters or less) to relatively long distances of several kilometers.

IG9ma Interest Group 9ma 15.9 REV1

IGdep Interest Group DEP Enhanced Dependability

IGpro Profiles

SCietf Standing Committee IETF IETF Liaison

IGvat Interest Group VAT Vehicular Assistive Technology

SCietf Standing Committee IETF IETF Liaison

WPAN SCmaintenance Maintenance of Standards Standing Committee
Captures issues such as corrigenda, requests for clarification, etc for approved standards and the 802.15 Operations Manual.

WPAN SCwng Wireless Next Generation Standing Committee
Facilitates and stimulates presentations and discussions on new wireless-related technologies within the defined scope, that may be subject for new 802.15 standardization projects (or does not fit within the current projects).

*As if August 2019
Note: Much of this text above is from IEEE 802.15 web pages.

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