Indoor Positioning, Tracking and Indoor Navigation with WiFi

Indoor positioning and indoor navigation based on WiFi are used in many projects. The reason: A wide range of different types of existing WiFi hotspots can be used for this. In addition, positioning already functions when users have enabled WiFi on their smartphones, no login is required. However, there are some disadvantages to indoor positioning with WiFi: Accuracy is 5-15 meters: less than with Bluetooth Low Energy. And iOS devices are excluded from client-based positioning.

How Does Indoor Positioning with WiFi Work?

Indoor Positioning with WiFi

Each WiFi access point, whether customer hotspot, router or Internet-capable point of sale system, transmits specific data. Using a RSSI (Received Signal Strength Indication) and MAC address (Media Access Control), an app can calculate the current location of the end user device (client-based positioning). This requires a database with information about the locations with which this data can be compared. This method is called fingerprinting. It only functions with Android devices due to technical restrictions. iOS devices cannot be used for WiFi indoor navigation.

Conversely, the data from all WiFi-capable devices (independent of the manufacturer) or WiFi tags from infsoft Locator Nodes can be recorded for server-based positioning (e.g. for asset tracking or route analysis) and sent to the server.

The accuracy of WiFi for indoor positioning is typically 5-15 meters because access points are usually used whose position has been optimized for data communication. This precision depends on the shielding through walls, ceilings and people, as well as the number of access points. The use of smartphone sensors can improve the results and the determination of the floor level is also possible.

Use Cases

  • Visitor guides & navigation in museums and employee apps – when the operator only issues Android devices
  • Analysis of visitor flows and walking routes
  • Tracking of animals, goods, pallets, machinery or vehicles using WiFi tag (asset tracking)
  • Personnel WiFi tracking, e.g. on large company premises or trade show stands

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