Learn more about Wi-Fi and how this omnipresent radio-frequency technology can be used to detect location and be easily activated to power a multitude of indoor positioning and location-based IoT applications.
What is Wi-Fi Positioning?
Wi-Fi is a radio-frequency technology for wireless communication that can be leveraged to detect and track the location of people, devices and assets, and can be easily activated for indoor positioning with existing Wi-Fi access points (APs) and hotspots. Incredibly vital and widespread, the Wi-Fi ecosystem is ubiquitous all throughout our daily lives. Wi-Fi is everywhere, especially in our indoor spaces, used by nearly all wireless devices and network infrastructures - including smartphones, computers, IoT devices, routers, APs, and more. Like other communication protocols including BLE and UWB, Wi-Fi can be used to transmit data between devices using radio waves.
The first version of the 802.11 Wi-Fi protocol was released in 1997. Since then it has become one of the most important communication technologies in the world, serving as a backbone for global communication. A few years after the release of Wi-Fi, it emerged as one of the first go-to technologies for indoor positioning. As Wi-Fi’s popularity as an indoor positioning technology grew, companies like Apple, Google, and Microsoft began to combine Wi-Fi with GPS to provide location services in indoor spaces where GPS was not able to reach, using existing building APs.
To this day, Wi-Fi is still an effective option for indoor positioning, although it is typically less accurate than competing positioning technologies like BLE and UWB. Wi-Fi’s continued significance as a key technology for location-based applications, is largely in part because of the large number of Wi-Fi devices and already established Wi-Fi infrastructures throughout indoor spaces.
The recent release of the next generation of Wi-Fi, Wi-Fi 6, will further strengthen Wi-Fi’s role as one of the world’s most important technologies. Wi-Fi 6 is designed to be significantly quicker, more reliable, accurate, and secure than previous generations. It’s built for the new IoT landscape and will lead to more Wi-Fi devices that have cutting-edge capabilities for transformative use cases, many of which will draw on location.
Wi-Fi’s vast presence and accessibility makes it a very important standard for indoor positioning applications. It can be leveraged in many location-based use cases and offers options to easily get started with indoor positioning through existing Wi-Fi infrastructures.