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Home Area Networks (HANs) consisting of wireless sensors have emerged as the enabling technology for important applications such as smart energy. These applications impose unique network management constraints, requiring low data rates but high network reliability in the face of unpredictable wireless environments. This paper presents two in-depth empirical studies on wireless channels in real homes, providing key design guidelines for meeting the network management constraints of HAN applications. The spectrum study analyzes spectrum usage in the 2.4 GHz band where HANs based on the IEEE 802.15.4 standard must coexist with existing wireless devices. The authors characterize the ambient wireless environment in six apartments through passive spectrum analysis across the entire 2.4 GHz band over seven days in each apartment.
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