Device Whispering: An Approach for Directory-Less WLAN Positioning

  • Karl-Heinz Krempels
  • Sebastian Patzak
  • Janno von Stülpnagel
  • Christoph Terwelp
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 130)


A widely-used positioning system for mobile devices is GPS. It is based on transit times of signals from satellites, so it provides accurate positioning in outdoor scenarios. But in indoor scenarios it is not usable because the signals are absorbed by buildings. To provide positioning services indoors several approaches exist which use for example GSM (Global System for Mobile Communication) or WLAN (Wireless Local Area Network) signals. GSM based systems not using special hardware are limited to identify the GSM-Cell the mobile device is in and associate it through a directory service with a geographical position. The fingerprinting approach is based on WLAN using signal strength vectors of multiple access points to approximate a position. But this method requires a huge number of measurements and only works reliable in laboratory environments. The approach discussed in this paper uses the WLAN radio of a mobile device to identify the nearest access point. Then the geographical position of the mobile device is calculated from the geo tags broadcasted by the access points. So the approach provides at least the same accuracy as directory-based positioning systems but does not require the maintenance and communication costs of a directory. The evaluation shows that the accuracy of this approach is limited by the abilities of hardware and drivers on todays mobile devices.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl-Heinz Krempels
    • 1
  • Sebastian Patzak
    • 1
  • Janno von Stülpnagel
    • 1
  • Christoph Terwelp
    • 1
  1. 1.Informatik 4, Intelligent Distributed Systems GroupRWTH Aachen UniversityAachenGermany

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