Know the position of your assets through WiFi

WPS (WiFi Positioning System) as geolocation technology

Asset management has become an essential element for companies and organizations, especially those that carry out operations in the supply chain. Obtaining information about goods in real time allows to improve decision-making, cut costs and stand out in the market.

One of the most precious insight is the location of assets. But how can we optain this kind of data? The best known is GPS (Global Positioning System), a satellite navigation system that allows you to know very precisely the geographical location of an asset. Though, when we’re outdoors.

Although it is the most widely used system today, it is not the only one. In fact, in this post we will focus on the WPS (WiFi Positioning System), a geopositioning option that is based on WiFi networks deployed all over the planet.

How does WPS work?

WiFi networks always broadcast a unique address called BSSID (Basic Service Set Identifier). These addresses are periodically scanned by different providers (Google is one of the main ones), to build databases worldwide that contain the exact location of each routers.

In this way, devices that have a WiFi location system can read the MAC addresses of the routers around them to find the location of the asset being monitored. The information will be sent to the cloud, where the position of the goods will be estimated through the location and power of the various WiFi networks that have been detected.


How accurate is it?

Although we are not facing the most accurate positioning system at the moment, the WPS gives us quite high reliability. We’re talking about a deviation of between 20 and 30 meters, at most. Accuracy will depend on the amount of WiFi in the area.

In which cases is indicated to use it?

This technology works optimally in cities and urban environments, where the density of WiFi networks is high. This allows for greater accuracy.

The use of WPS as geolocation technology makes even more sense in cities with large buildings, such as Hong Kong. In this case, the use of the system par excellence, the GPS, would not give positive results since its penetration is very low because of the height of the buildings. However, the density of WiFi networks is exponentially multiplied and, therefore, the use of WPS would take all the sense.


What happens in low-density cities?

WPS would not be the recommended technology in this case, as WiFi networks are limited and therefore resolving the position would not be possible in many cases. In a situation like this, it is more advisable to use GPS or another outdoor geolocation system.

What is the battery life of the device using this location system?

The battery consumption of a device that uses WPS as positioning technology is quite reasonable. As always, this factor will depend a lot on other configurable elements, but if we had to make a comparison we would say that the WPS is below the GPS in terms of consumption. However, it would consume more than, for example, a beacon positioning system (designed for indoor localization).

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