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WPS heads for mobile Linux devices

Jun 23, 2005 — by Henry Kingman — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Skyhook has introduced a wide-area positioning system based on WiFi radio signals, rather than satellite or cellular technology. The company says its WPS (WiFi Positioning System) is faster, works better indoors, and supports more existing devices. The company plans to support mobile clients running Linux.

Skyhook's WPS system is based on client software that compares nearby wireless access points with a database of 1.5 public and private access points in 25 metropolitan areas of the US to pinpoint location in about a second, with a claimed resolution of about 80 to 160 feet (20 to 40 meters). The company claims its coverage area extends 10 to 15 miles from each metro center.

This map shows Skyhook's database of the location of Wi-Fi access points in New York City
(Click to enlarge)

Skyhook founder Ted Morgan says the market for location-aware services is “set to explode,” with potential applications that include search and recovery, E911, proximity advertising, and fleet management.

Alan Phillips, CEO of Skyhook customer uLocate, said, “WPS allows us to appeal to a much wider set of devices and service providers while simplifying our deployment needs. The market for location-based services has begun to emerge but has been hampered to date by the limitations of traditional positioning systems. These systems call for new hardware in mobile devices, require line-of-site views of orbiting satellites, and suffer from reliability issues in urban areas. The WPS leverages existing 802.11 hardware already resident in over 100 million devices today.”


According to Morgan, Skyhook's WGS client software is portable, and will be made available for Linux mobile devices. It is currently available for Windows mobile embedded OSes, with Palm OS to follow shortly thereafter.

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