Near-me area network

A near-me area network (NAN) is a communication network that focuses on wireless communication among devices in close proximity.

Unlike local area networks (LANs), where the devices are in the same network segment and share the same broadcast domain, the devices in a NAN can belong to different proprietary network infrastructures (for example, different mobile carriers). If two devices are geographically close, the communication path between them might, in fact, traverse a long distance, going from a LAN, through the Internet, and to another LAN.[1]

NAN applications focus on two-way communications among devices within a certain proximity to each other, but don't generally concern themselves with the devices' exact locations.[2][3]


The Internet consists of different types of communication networks. Common types include local area networks (LAN), metropolitan area networks (MAN), and wide area networks (WAN). Local area networks have the coverage of a small geographic area, such as a school, residence, building, or company.[4][5][6] Metropolitan area networks cover a larger area, such as a city or state. Wide area networks provide communication in a broad geographic area covering national and international locations. Personal area networks (PANs) are wireless LANs with a very short range (up to a few meters), enabling computer devices (such as PDAs and printers) to communicate with other nearby devices and computers.

Due to the increasing popularity of location-enabled (or GPS-enabled) mobile devices (including iPhone and Android phones),[2][7] the near-me area network (NAN) is currently being used as a means of wireless communication for areas which do not require the full coverage of a local area network.[1]

Examples of applications

Some services are meaningful only to a group of people in close proximity, which has generated the need for NANs. The following scenarios show some example NAN applications:[1]

  • Ben is going to the ABC supermarket to buy three bottles of red wine. The supermarket offers a 30 percent discount on the purchase of six bottles, so he sends a message to other customers to see if they would like to buy the other three bottles of wine.
  • Susan bought a movie ticket 15 minutes ago, but she now feels dizzy and can't watch the film. She sends out messages to people around the cinema to see if anyone will purchase her ticket at 50 percent off.
  • In a theme park, guests would like to know each ride's queue status to reduce their waiting time. So, they take a photo of the queue they're in and share it with other guests through a NAN application.
  • Ann works at Causeway Bay and would like to find someone to have lunch with. She checks her friend list to see who is closest to her at this moment and invites that friend to join her.
  • Carol just lost her son in the street, so she sends out his picture, which is stored in her mobile device, to passers-by to see if they can find him.

See also


  1. Wong, Angus K.Y. (March 2010). "The Near-Me Area Network". IEEE Internet Computing. 14 (2): 74–77. doi:10.1109/MIC.2010.49. ISSN 1089-7801.
  2. "GPS Mobile Phones: the Privacy and Regulatory Issues". Research and Markets. February 2008. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  3. Liu, Hui; et al. (November 2007). "Survey of Wireless Indoor Positioning Techniques and Systems". IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics - Part C: Applications and Reviews. 37 (6): 1067–1080. doi:10.1109/TSMCC.2007.905750.
  4. Mitchell, Bradley. "What's a LAN (Local Area Network)?". Lifewire. Dotdash, IAC. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  5. "BBC - GCSE Bitesize: LANs and WANs". BBC - GCSE Bitesize. BBC. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  6. Rouse, Margaret. "What is metropolitan area network (MAN)? - Definition from". SearchNetworking - WhatIs. TechTarget. Retrieved 27 June 2017.
  7. Beach, Aaron; et al. (July 2008). "WhozThat? evolving an ecosystem for context-aware mobile social networks". IEEE Network. 22 (4): 50–55. doi:10.1109/MNET.2008.4579771.
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