Agere Jockeys for Indoor Positioning

By Eric Griffith

May 22, 2002

Finland-based Ekahau has the indoor positioning technology Agere plans to support in its 'location-aware' 802.11 applications of the future.

Imagine being able to track down to within a meter any person with a client device on your wireless network. Better yet, tagging all the patients or doctors in a hospital or employees in a warehouse with WLAN products and knowing where they are at all times. Tracking employees, clients, even the public, using 802.11 technology isn't just a dream. Wireless component leader Agere Systems will be supporting technology from Ekahau, Inc., to build location-aware 802.11 products for the future for itself and its OEM customers.

Helsinki, Finland's Ekahau is the creator of the patent-pending, software-based Ekahau Positioning Engine (EPE), which can on average locate over 100 client laptop or PDA devices per second on a Wi-Fi network to within 3.5 feet (1 meter) based.

The system is a Java 2 software component that runs in Windows NT/2000/XP, plus WinCE 3.0 and Pocket PC 2002. It takes up less than 200K of disk space, including the Manager application for recording site data and analyzing position accuracy, as well as tracking of devices.

The Manager software can be programmed to show an actual floor plan to display where wireless nodes are at any given time, or even the overlapping coverage of WLAN access points in the area. It doesn't require any proprietary hardware. Ekahau estimates it takes one hour per ever 12,000 square feet of space to accurately calibrate a site for use by the EPE.

An Agere spokes person her in the United States said that future hardware from the company will be configured to support the use of the EPE, but the EPE software will not be bundled as part of Agere products. Customers will have to purchase it separately from Ekahau.

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