IoT, geolocation and SX1280 ranging : the continuation of the experiment conducted by WI6LABS

The WI6LABS teams have been experimenting for several months a new geolocation technology. We tell you everything about sx1280 ranging. You can find the first part of the experimentation here.

Hardware : tag( left) and anchor (right)

A year and a half ago, WI6LABS was experimenting with the localization technology offered by Semtech’s SX1280 ranging.

WI6LABS continued the work and developed a complete localization system. We will tell you the rest of the story!

The benefit for the customers

Thanks to our localization solution, it is now possible for an industrial company to know the position of its assets within its environment (warehouse, factory, tertiary building, parking,…) thanks to anchors and 1 tag. The infrastructure allows to manage several buildings around the world. A lost tool, a car not found… Everything is visible on the web application interface.

The solution is deployed in sectors such as aeronautics, agriculture and of course industry.

Thanks to this geolocation technology, we can use asset location data for tracking, geofencing, storage time measurement etc…

But the tag can be useful for purposes other than geolocation: the use of 2.4GHz allows us to consider high data rates to transfer large volumes of data and be reachable by the network at any time. This is an advantage for medium distance networks (500m to 1km) compared to longer range technologies. The network’s 6LoWPAN architecture allows us to cover a large number of applications.

Some elements of comparison

Compared to other 2.4GHz technologies, the SX1280 ranging offers impressive capabilities. It allows to have a speed at least equivalent to its competitors, while ensuring a much better range.

In addition, we note that the sx1280 offers a very good compromise between range and accuracy. It is also suitable for IoT due to its low consumption and low deployment cost.

And on the user side, what does it look like?

The management of this platform is ensured by WI6LABS and its partner Alkante: Maplink is a sensor-based information exploitation solution that collects, analyzes and shares geolocated data.

On the user interface (backend), we can place anchors and reference the sensor fleet. We provide the plans of industrial buildings, the names of the sensors, their number of ranges per day, the name of the border router that manages the anchors, the tag field etc….

Example of representation of geolocated data

All this then applies to the web application interface for the end user

Anchors and tags: We explain everything to you!

The sensors to be geolocated are tags. They are located in areas covered by anchors and a border router.

The tag measures the distances between it and the different anchors and transmits this information to the border router. The latter pushes this data to the geolocation server. This entity is in charge of applying “trilateration” algorithms to determine the positioning of the tag. The processed data is then provided to the application server.

To cover a 10,000m² area of an industrial building, at least 5 anchors are required to avoid any loss of measurement. If the building is complex, it will be preferable to increase the density of the network. This depends essentially on the structure of the building.

Accuracy can reach 2 meters. It depends a lot on the environment in which we live.

The tests carried out at WI6LABS’ premises give us an accuracy of about 2m in relation to the actual point.

Here are some of the results observed :

In more complex buildings, we are subject to disruptions such as reflections and we must take into account cases of multi-paths. We have therefore worked on the implementation of algorithms to compensate for these difficulties related to the terrain, while ensuring that the number of anchors required to ensure geolocation is kept to a minimum. Automatically, the algorithm adapts to its environment. Today, in a very constrained industrial environment, our measurement accuracy is on average 5m.

Here is an example that illustrates the improvement brought by our algorithms:

The building is a production line in which equipment and furniture are connected to the ground. The majority of this equipment is metallic. The metal ceiling is about 8m high, so there are many cases of multi-path.

Without correcting our algorithms, the results in a very constrained industrial building are as follows. Here the area covered is 35 m by 24 m with 5 anchors.

By applying our corrections, we obtain the following results :

Unlike our competitors who need a lot of anchors, our promise is to install the minimum number of anchors, i.e. 5, so that the cost of the infrastructure is as low as possible. Our primary goal is to limit the complexity of the infrastructure.

The expertise of our development team

The team worked hard on the development and development of the solution (tag, anchor, border router, localization solver, web application).

Software integration, with a 6LoWPAN stack for example, makes it an easy solution to implement and integrate into an existing system.

Developments on localization floors allow us to further increase accuracy by adapting to working environments.

Also, very significant efforts have been made in the design and integration of the antennas. It is a critical design element that guarantees the accuracy of the system

We are ready to integrate our solution into your business application. Feel free to contact us for more information, WI6LABS will be happy to assist you!