Which Technology Offers More Precise Indoor Positioning – UWB or Bluetooth® LE Wireless Technology?

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By Miro Stoichev

According to statistics, the market for indoor positioning worldwide is expected to be worth USD 8.8 billion in 2023. Numerous businesses are looking to integrate indoor positioning into their own infrastructure, as it is predicted to reach $27 billion by 2027. The question of which technology to use in such a situation arises. In this post, we’ll examine two popular options—Ultra-WideBand (UWB) and Bluetooth®—and contrast their functionalities and technical attributes.

Technology Offers More Precise Indoor Positioning - UWB or Bluetooth® LE Wireless Technology

Another type of wireless network at home is Wi-Fi. If you want to know more about its positive and negative qualities, then this article is for you: https://wirelessdevnet.com/pros-and-cons-wireless-network-with-wifi/

Describe Bluetooth LE Wireless Technology

A wireless communication protocol called Bluetooth® Low Energy was created with low power consumption in mind. It is a low-power, effective substitute for traditional Bluetooth® that provides nearly identical features. As a result, the technology is frequently applied in systems where battery life is crucial.

Bluetooth LE Wireless Technology Basics

Special sensors, called beacons, are used to implement Bluetooth® LE in the infrastructure. These beacons are positioned throughout the premises. They emit signals on a regular basis, which a smartphone running an installed mobile application receives. Visitors may receive a variety of information depending on the task and positioning, including push notifications, advertising, and location data.

Radio wave technology underpins Bluetooth® LE, and it uses the FHSS method. The transmitter alone determines the random sequence and frequency changes of radio signals (up to 1600 per second) that occur during sensor operation.

Data transmission over low bandwidth channels is made possible by this technology. The range is mostly dependent on the surroundings, and the maximum transmission rate is 2 Mbps. It can extend up to 100 meters, but it usually stays between 10 and 30 meters. Features like protocol parameters and device implementation have an impact on beacon power consumption. In most cases, it doesn’t go over 15 mA when sending data.

Bluetooth® Low Energy is a highly sought-after solution across numerous fields of activity due to its low implementation costs and high location accuracy.

Due to the following benefits, business owners greatly value the technology:

  • The capacity to customize infrastructure using inexpensive equipment
  • A five-year beacon service life
  • Simplicity in installation, configuration, and ongoing use
  • A broad range of functions
  • Including indoor navigation and tracking
  • Real-time positioning
  • Easy scaling
  • High data transfer rates

How the UWB works?

Ultra-WideBand is a wireless technology that transmits data over short distances with low power consumption, similar to Bluetooth® Low Energy. But because of its longer range (up to 200 meters), it works well for large-scale deployments, such as perimeter area monitoring.

Ultra-WideBand signals with low power spectral density are used in UWB. Since radio signals are thought to be fairly weak and propagate between 2.85 and 10.6 GHz, they are exempt from State Committee for Radio Frequency Control licensing requirements. The system uses several techniques to perform calculations, including TDoA, AoA, ToF, PDoA, and TWR, depending on the needs of the enterprise. It is crucial to remember that although the stated positioning accuracy of 10 cm is possible, this is only possible in lab settings, and actual positioning accuracy typically ranges from 50 cm to 1 m.

The Future is Ultra-Wideband

The utilization of unique anchors and locators on the tracked objects forms the foundation of Ultra-WideBand technology. The TWR (Two Way Ranging) technique, which offers high accuracy and positional stability of calculations, is most frequently used to determine the location. When tags are in use, they periodically emit signals that are picked up by multiple synchronized anchors and sent to servers. Finding the time it took for radio signals to travel from the sensor to the server allows for positioning.

The most common applications of UWB are in industry, where it is used for personnel, equipment, and asset management. The tags are inserted, if needed, into unique bracelets that are used to keep an eye on hospital staff members or patients.

Ultra-WideBand technology’s key benefits include:

  • Extremely precise location of people and objects
  • Fast information transmission
  • Support for many channels at once
  • Immunity to interference
  • Capacity to transmit large amounts of data
  • High spectral flexibility
  • Broad range of scalability with respect to speed parameters

Technical Relatives

It’s important to remember that both Bluetooth® and Ultra-WideBand are useful for locating people or objects. They work best with equipment that needs precise positioning and are based on a local wireless network. These technologies do differ greatly from one another, though. For instance, UWB uses less power and sends data at frequencies between 2.85 and 10.6 GHz. Bluetooth® LE, on the other hand, employs 80 distinct channels at 1 MHz each for 2.4 GHz transmission.

Whereas Bluetooth® Low Energy is more vulnerable to hacking and eavesdropping, Ultra-WideBand offers greater security. Because of this, the former choice is more appropriate for systems that demand a high level of security. In addition, Bluetooth® LE has a sizable ecosystem of supporting technologies, which contributes to its widespread use. It is utilized in nearly every sector of the economy, including healthcare, industrial, logistics, retail, and shopping malls.

When deciding between the two technologies, it’s important to keep in mind that UWB provides greater accuracy, making it suitable for tracking valuable assets. Even though it is less precise, Bluetooth® Low Energy is more widely used for straightforward positioning solutions that are simple to scale to meet user needs and requires less money to implement. Since both technologies are functional and effective for positioning, the best choice should be determined project-by-project.

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