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Differences in RSSI readings made by different Wi-Fi chipsets: A limitation of WLAN localization

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5 Author(s)
Gough Lui ; School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia ; Thomas Gallagher ; Binghao Li ; Andrew G. Dempster
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Wi-Fi positioning has found favour in environments which are traditionally challenging for GPS. The currently used method of Wi-Fi fingerprinting assumes that the devices used for training and locating perform identically. We have undertaken an experiment to determine how different devices behave in an empirical controlled test to identify the challenges and limitations which Wi-Fi fingerprinting positioning systems will face when deployed across many devices. We found that they performed significantly differently in respect to the mean reported signal strength - even those which came from the same vendor. We also found that multiple samples of the same device do not perform identically. Furthermore, it was found that certain devices were entirely unsuitable for positioning as they reported signal strength values uncorrelated with distance from the transmitter. Some other devices behaved in a way that made them poor candidates for use in fingerprinting. Temporal patterns were found in some wireless cards which suggest that filtering should be used. The tests also found that the use of 5GHz band signals had the potential to improve the accuracy of Wi-Fi location due to its higher stability compared to 2.4GHz. Ultimately however, the accuracy of Wi-Fi fingerprinting is limited due to many factors in the hardware and software design of Wi-Fi devices which affect the reported signal strength.

Published in:

2011 International Conference on Localization and GNSS (ICL-GNSS)

Date of Conference:

29-30 June 2011