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We have made detailed measurements, on the impact of modern Wireless LAN technologies on the IEEE 802.15.4 in the 2.4 GHz ISM band. We have specifically focused on IEEE 802.11g and pre-standard IEEE 802.11n products as potential interferers. Our measurements show that high levels of network traffic interference from either of these technologies has disastrous impact on the performance of IEEE 802.15.4. Our results also indicate that these interference effects are especially difficult to avoid in the (pre-standard) 802.11n case due to the significantly increased channel bandwidth compared to previous Wireless LAN technologies. Widespread adoption of IEEE 802.11n especially in applications involving high data rates (such as backbones for wireless mesh networks) could thus have serious impact on the usability of IEEE 802.15.4 as well as other low-power 2.4 GHz ISM band technologies. This indicates that low-power building automation, consumer electronics and sensor networks may be vulnerable to the interference from the future IEEE 802.11n high-data rate WLAN deployments.
Date of Conference: 22-28 April 2007