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The new IEEE standard 802.15.4 shows promise to bring ubiquitous networking into our lives, at least technically. Unlike other standards targeting high- or moderate-data-rate applications, IEEE 802.15.4 is a global standard designed for low-data-rate, low power consumption, and low-cost applications. This so-called enabling standard brings many simple, originally standalone devices into networks, and thus not only open the door to an enormous number of new applications, but also add values to many other existing applications. In this article we first present a few application scenarios to show the potential extent to which the new standard can affect our lives, and then give an overview of the standard, focusing on its feasibility and functions in establishing ubiquitous networks. We also outline some quantitative results from our experiments so as to have a better view of the standard.
Date of Publication: June 2004