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What Is WiFi Fingerprinting & How Is It Used In Indoor Positioning?

WiFi Fingerprinting – A Brief Introduction

WiFi fingerprinting is one of the most used methods currently when it comes to indoor positioning, however, there is a large segment of the population that has no idea about the method. Before we move on to the use of the WiFi fingerprinting method, let us take a look at a WiFi fingerprint and find out what it actually is.

As everyone knows, fingerprint is the unique print of the fingers of any human being that will identify the person. Similarly, using some parameters of WiFi signal at a location a unique identification number is generated for that location. The parameters taken into consideration vary from person to person. This choice of parameter is responsible behind accuracy of the WiFi fingerprinting system. However, irrespective of the parameter(s) being used, this process is known as WiFi fingerprinting.

The major parameters which are taken into consideration while obtaining the WiFi fingerprint are RSSI (Received Signal Strength), AP (Access Point) Visibility, and a mix of various factors like strength, stability, and constancy of signal. The values of these factors are used in various algorithms to get the final fingerprint of any location. As is evident, use of different parameter will yield different result even while using the same algorithm. Thus, these parameters are important factors when it comes to WiFi fingerprinting method accuracy.

What is Indoor Positioning

Before moving further, let us take a closer look at the objective. Indoor Positioning System or IPS is the system of accurately determine the location of any device accessing almost any network within the confines of walls. It is used to effectively determine the location of the person using the device.

Use of WiFi Fingerprinting for Indoor Positioning

WiFi is one of the various technologies being used for positioning purpose. When the question is about indoor positioning, WiFi is the best choice. Technologies like GPS (Global Positioning System) and GLOSNASS (Global Navigation Satellite System) are rendered useless or highly inaccurate when used within an indoor location. WiFi, on the other hand, has emerged as the perfect alternative. With high concentration of access points and every mobile device having WiFi access, using the various parameters of WiFi network is the best choice for indoor positioning purposes.

How Indoor Positioning Helps

The question is bound to come to mind, how does indoor positioning help me? The answer is simple – it helps us almost all through the day in various forms. Whether it is updating status with location tag in social media, or using any location based service to find best services nearest to your location, or simply finding way during a tour, or may be to locate some lost/stolen device, indoor positioning has become a part and parcel of our daily life. It is a relatively new technology but even there are companies like JibeStream who is applying it to help organizations like hospitals and schools.

Security Concern

Every technology advancement comes along with security issues. In this case, it is a genuine concern as some people might not wish them to be tracked at all times. Google has suggested appending “_nomap” to SSID of wireless access network and preventing it from being used by Google in any search. It is better to follow these preventive steps instead of closing the process.

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