Cost-Effective Positioning based on WiFi-Probes: A Quantitative Study : Deriving the Position of a Smartphone using the Signal Strength of WiFi-Probes

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för datalogi och datorsystemteknik; Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Institutionen för datalogi och datorsystemteknik

Abstract: In the modern society, almost everyone has a smartphone. These devices tend to almost always use WiFi-networking. For the device to identify nearby WiFi access points it has to send out WiFi probing broadcasts. Nearby access points respond to these broadcasts in order to let the device know that they are within reach. This technique is called active scanning. This paper aims to answer if it is possible to use the signal strength of these broadcasts to localize the device transmitting them. We are interested in the possibility of creating this kind of system and the accuracy that it would be able to provide. This is a quantitative study where we produce our results based on experiments, measurements and observations. The experiments are set in a large square shaped area. A sensor was placed at each corner of the area that the smartphone will be tracked within. The smartphone will be sending WiFi probing broadcasts that will be monitored and measured by the sensors. The strength of the broadcast signal will be converted into the relative distance between the devices position and the sensors. These four distances, collected from each of the sensors, will further be converted into a position within the area by using trilateration. To measure the accuracy of the system, the true position of the device will be compared against the calculated position from the system using only the signal strength. Further, a deviation in the distance between the two locations will be calculated. The experiments resulted in a positioning system that was able to estimate positions within an 80 x 80m area. Fourteen location positions were taken which resulted in a mean deviation of 16.6 meters from the true location and a root mean squared error of 19.5 meters. We concluded that more readings within the same position gave a significant increase in accuracy, to the expense of time. Using single measurements would be more practical, but would not produce reliable positions. Keywords: WiFi, Probe Broadcast, Local Positioning System, Trilateration, RSSI.

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