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Software adds location awareness to mobile devices

Feb 24, 2005 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Ekahau is offering Wi-Fi device-makers free distribution rights to its wireless device-positioning client software and source code. The “Located by Ekahau” (LBE) partner program enables device manufacturers to promote their wireless products as “location aware,” according to the company.

Ekahau's client software works in conjunction with the company's Positioning Engine software, to accurately position Wi-Fi enabled devices within a Wi-Fi coverage area. According to Ekahau, the Positioning Engine is entirely software-based, and can be deployed over existing Wi-Fi networks without requiring the addition of overlay infrastructure, antennas, or sensors.

The Positioning Engine technology — the result of 10 years of research by the Complex Systems Computation Group at the University of Helsinki, according to Ekahau — is based on signal strength site calibration, and uses relative signal strengths from multiple Wi-Fi access points to determine position. The company claims an average accuracy of 1 meter (3.5 feet) when supported by signals from five to seven access points indoors, with no interference. When used with three to five access points, the average accuracy reduces to 2 to 3 meters (about 7 to 10 feet). If higher accuracy is required, “dummy” access points can be used with their power on, but without having to connect them to a network.

Site calibration takes about one hour per 12,000 square feet, according to Ekahau, which adds that people, furniture arrangement, doors, and other minor environment changes don't affect the calibration.

A free 30-day evaluation version of the Positioning Engine is available for download, here.

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