By Claus Hetting, Wi-Fi NOW CEO & Chairman
It could be one of the ‘best kept secrets’ in Wi-Fi: Remarkably accurate Wi-Fi ranging technology exists today and continues to evolve, delivering location accuracy down to a handful of centimetres. A new white paper by Qualcomm dives into ranging technology, its emerging use cases, and presents a detailed set of test results.
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Even many industry experts are not aware of this. But the technology to measure distance using the time-of-flight of Wi-Fi signals (known as FTM or ‘Fine Timing Measurement’) has been around and available on Qualcomm Wi-Fi platforms since 2015. Android launched an API for the feature in 2018 and since then masses of phones have been shipped with Wi-Fi ranging (FTM) capability, Qualcomm says in a new white paper (for download register below).
“Ranging technology has been delivered as standard on Qualcomm platforms for a number of years and as a result there’s a huge base of phones with ranging capabilities in the market already. We believe ranging is a highly valuable feature that has thus far not been used nearly enough. But this is now changing, as OEMs and application developers begin to realise the value,” says Qualcomm’s VP of Technical Standards and co-author of the white paper, Rolf de Vegt.
The use cases for the technology are wide ranging. Infrastructure applications – that involve interoperable devices and APs – can deliver asset tracking, geofencing, indoor navigation, and much more. Peer-to-peer applications for example allow users to find devices (such as lost keys), access control (such as unlocking a car door), and more. Wi-Fi ranging technology often also has an important role to play in relation to Wi-Fi sensing, Qualcomm says.
The white paper provides insights into the history, use cases, performance factors, and near-term innovations of Wi-Fi ranging technology. It also highlights statistical methods that application developers and other solutions implementers can use to enhance ranging accuracy in their applications. Qualcomm draws on the results of extensive measurement campaigns using its Wi-Fi ranging technology to demonstrate achievable ranging accuracies in real-world scenarios.
For all the details on the state-of-the-art of Wi-Fi ranging including detailed test results download the full white paper by registering below!