Thursday, June 20, 2024

Wi-Fi IC Enhances Location Accuracy And Efficiency

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A location solution combines Wi-Fi, cellular IoT, and GNSS for accuracy and efficiency, facilitating IoT development with simplified updates and a compact design.


With the introduction of the nRF7000 Wi-Fi companion IC, Nordic Semiconductor now offers a ]location solution that includes Wi-Fi, cellular IoT, and GNSS. This solution streamlines the development of Wi-Fi-based locationing applications.

The nRF7000 IC is a Wi-Fi 6 chip for scanning Wi-Fi networks on 2.4- and 5 GHz bands. Combined with nRF91 Series cellular IoT System-in-Package, it enables SSID-based Wi-Fi locationing. This method provides location fixes indoors and outdoors, useful in areas with weak GNSS signals.

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The IC focuses on Wi-Fi SSID scanning without supporting Wi-Fi data communication. This specialization balances power consumption with location accuracy for Wi-Fi locationing capabilities.

The SSID-based Wi-Fi locationing solution uses an IC for Wi-Fi scanning and a System-in-Package for cellular communication to a cloud service. This method scans signals from nearby Wi-Fi access points to determine a tracker’s location, offering an accuracy level between cellular-based and GNSS methods. It is more power-efficient than GNSS and comparable in efficiency to cellular-based locationing.

The SSID-based Wi-Fi locationing solution is complemented by a unified software development environment, facilitating software updates. This environment, used with cloud services, allows for easy over-the-air application, middleware, and modem firmware updates, ensuring a secure and reliable update process.

Combining the nRF9160 System-in-Package and nRF7000 IC creates a compact and power-efficient solution for Wi-Fi, cellular IoT, and GNSS locationing. To assist developers in creating IoT end-products with this technology, an Evaluation Kit (EK) has been launched. This kit, designed in an Arduino shield form factor, can be seamlessly integrated with a Development Kit (DK) for practical development and testing.

“The launch of the nRF7000 IC makes the Nordic SSID-based Wi-Fi locationing solution best-in-class,” explains Finn Boetius, Product Marketing Engineer at Nordic Semiconductor. “Competing solutions tend to use general-purpose Wi-Fi ICs for Wi-Fi locationing. These are usually oversized and not optimized for this specific use case. This makes them both more expensive and more power-hungry. 

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Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal
Nidhi Agarwal is a journalist at EFY. She is an Electronics and Communication Engineer with over five years of academic experience. Her expertise lies in working with development boards and IoT cloud. She enjoys writing as it enables her to share her knowledge and insights related to electronics, with like-minded techies.


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