intro to indoor positioning system

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5, OCTOBER 2009

821

RSSI Values in Unmodified WLAN Networks

Santiago Mazuelas, Alfonso Bahillo, Ruben M. Lorenzo, Patricia Fernandez, Francisco A. Lago, Eduardo Garcia,

Juan Blas, and Evaristo J. Abril

strength (RSS) measurements, link the RSS values to the position

of the mobile station (MS) to be located. Their accuracy depends

on the suitability of the propagation models used for the actual

propagation conditions. In indoor wireless networks, these propagation conditions are very difficult to predict due to the unwieldy

and dynamic nature of the RSS. In this paper, we present a novel

method which dynamically estimates the propagation models

that best fit the propagation environments, by using only RSS

measurements obtained in real time. This method is based on

maximizing compatibility of the MS to access points (AP) distance

estimates. Once the propagation models are estimated in real time,

it is possible to accurately determine the distance between the MS

and each AP. By means of these distance estimates, the location

of the MS can be obtained by trilateration. The method proposed

coupled with simulations and measurements in a real indoor

environment, demonstrates its feasibility and suitability, since it

outperforms conventional RSS-based indoor location methods

without using any radio map information nor a calibration stage.

Index TermsGeolocation, IEEE 80211, positioning, received

signal strength indicator (RSSI).

I. INTRODUCTION

UE to the lack of precision of conventional location systems such as Global Positioning System (GPS) in indoor

and urban environments, the research on location methods based

on other types of wireless networks is attracting more and more

attention in recent years [1]. Nowadays, the great deployment of

WLAN IEEE 802.11 wireless networks makes this technology

ideal for developing such location systems.

Different wireless location systems are based on the estimation of a mobile station (MS) position by using the values of

certain measurements taken from radio-frequency signals that

travel between the MS and the fixed stations. These measurements can be time-of-arrival (TOA), time-difference-of-arrival

(TDOA), received-signal-strength (RSS), and angle-of-arrival

(AOA) [2].

Manuscript received July 01, 2008; revised May 19, 2009. Current version

published October 21, 2009. This work was supported in part by the Regional

Ministry of Education (Consejeria de Educacion) of Castilla y Leon (Spain)

under Grant VA002A06. The associate editor coordinating the review of this

manuscript and approving it for publication was Dr. Dorota Brzezinska.

S. Mazuelas, A.Bahillo, E. Garcia, and J. Blas are with the Center

for the Development of Telecommunications (CEDETEL) Edificio Solar,

Parque Tecnologico de Boecillo, 47151 Boecillo (Valladolid), Spain (e-mail:

smazuelas@cedetel.es).

F. A. Lago, P. Fernandez, R. M. Lorenzo, and E. J. Abril are with the Department of Signal Theory and Communications and Telematic Engineering.

University of Valladolid, 47011 Valladolid, Spain (e-mail: flago@tel.uva.es).

Color versions of one or more of the figures in this paper are available online

at http://ieeexplore.ieee.org.

Digital Object Identifier 10.1109/JSTSP.2009.2029191

because of the difficulty of obtaining these types of measurements in a normal wireless network [3], [4]. However, RSS

values are easy to obtain in any wireless network, even more in

a 802.11 network where the RSS indicator (RSSI) can be easily

extracted.

The greatest technical difficulty of developing a location

system based on RSS is the fact that the relationship between

the RSS values and the MS position depends to a great extent

on the propagation environment present between the MS and

each access point (AP), being very difficult to know which

propagation models are the most suitable to describe such a

relationship in real environments. As a consequence, the usual

approach is to determine the relationship between the RSS

values and the position of the MS by carrying out a previous set

of measurements (calibration) in the environment of interest.

These methods are based on two stages [5][7]: an offline or calibration stage where RSS values are stored and an online stage

where the MS position is determined based on the comparison

between the RSS values stored and the RSS values obtained

in real time. The accuracy achieved by these methods depends

on the amount of measurements taken in the offline phase,

getting precisions similar to the separation between samples in

the offline phase [6]. Methods belonging to this category differ

among them because of the way in which the measurements

in the online and offline phases are compared. They can use

statistic techniques [6], [8] or deterministic techniques [5]. Due

to the huge amount of measurements needed in the offline stage

to achieve a high level of accuracy, interpolation techniques

are used in order to reduce the amount of measurements. These

techniques interpolate values in certain points making use of

spatial information and/or classical propagation models [3],

[5], [7].

The main drawback of all these methods is the need of the

offline stage due to the significant increase in the complexity

caused by the calibration effort needed. Furthermore, changes

in the environment invalidate the calibration built in the offline

stage [9][11]. Moreover, although the environment in online

and offline stages remains the same, other types of less severe

changes, such as presence/absence of people, the orientation of

the MS, etc., cause ample differences in the RSS values [7],

[10][13], which cause these methods to fail to obtain good results in dynamic environments.

To solve these limitations there are several alternative

methods that do not need the calibration stage. They determine

the MS location based on information obtained in real time.

These methods obtain information about the propagation environment based on mutual measurements between the APs

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IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN SIGNAL PROCESSING, VOL. 3, NO. 5, OCTOBER 2009

in order to dynamically estimate the propagation environment

[10], [11], being mandatory in both techniques to make changes

in the wireless network.

In this paper, we present a method that uses neither a calibration stage nor any map information and it does not need to make

changes in the wireless network. It is a pure software solution

since it only uses the real-time RSSI values obtained by the MS

from all the APs in range. This method dynamically estimates

the models that best fit the propagation environment present between the MS and each AP by using only the RSS values obtained at that precise instant.

Sections II and III describe the notations and models used,

Section IV derives the maximum likelihood estimators of

distance and the corresponding CramerRao lower bounds.

Section V describes a method which estimates the path loss

exponents that model the relation between distance and RSS

values. Finally, in Section VI we present the results obtained

by the methods introduced with several simulations and real

measurements carried out in the Higher Technical School of

Telecommunications of the University of Valladolid, Spain.

the receiver, is known as path loss, and it is modeled to be inversely proportional to the distance between the emitter and the

receiver raised to a certain exponent. This exponent is known as

path loss exponent [15], [16], path loss factor [17], or path loss

gradient [18].

Other factors that affect RSS values are the multipath or fast

fading and the shadowing or slow fading. These two factors can

be modeled with Rayleigh or Rician and log-normal distribu, can be modeled

tions [11], [16]. Therefore, RSS values,

by means of the following expression: [17]

(1)

is the transmitted power,

and

are the transwhere

mitter and receiver gains, respectively, is the distance between

emitter and receiver, is the path loss exponent, and and

are the parameters that conform the Rayleigh/Rician and lognormal distributions, respectively.

Averaging over certain time interval we can eliminate the fast

fading term [19], [20]. Thus, taking logarithmic units in (1) and

following the derivation steps shown in [17], RSSI values can

be modeled by the following expression:

Let us assume that there is a WLAN IEEE 802.11 wireless

network in the environment in which we want to deploy a positioning system. Our aim is to estimate the location of a MS

within this network. This MS can measure RSS values from all

, the time instants that

APs in range. If we call

the MS measures RSS values from each of the

APs in range,

the RSS value measured by the MS at time

we denote

.

from the

In IEEE 802.11 networks, the RSSI value is a byte containing

the RSS average value over a sampling period [12]. The RSSI

range depends on both the sensitivity of the adapter and the manufacturer. Each manufacturer also provides a conversion table

from which we can obtain the RSSI value in logarithmic units.

Once we know the conversion table from each manufacturer, we

can easily obtain the RSS values in dBm units.

III. RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN RECEIVED SIGNAL

STRENGTH AND DISTANCE

In a precisely given instant and place, the RSS values obtained

by a device in a wireless network depend on a large number of

unpredictable factors. Specifically, in a WLAN 802.11 network,

small changes in position or direction may result in dramatic

differences in RSS. Moreover, similar effects can happen even if

the wireless devices remain static, due to the presence of moving

objects that may interfere in the station-to-station propagation

[12].

It is clear that one of the factors influencing RSS values obtained by a wireless device is the distance between emitter and

receiver, as this distance causes an attenuation in RSS values.

As we mentioned before, in this paper we present a method that

achieves precise distance estimates only from RSS values obtained at each instant. Therefore, it is mandatory to determine

beforehand the sort of dependence present among those RSS

values and the distance between the emitter and the receiver.

This attenuation, caused by the distance between the emitter and

(2)

where is the distance between the transmitter and the receiver

and the term denotes a Gaussian random variable with zero

mean caused by shadowing [21], [22]. The term is a constant

which depends on several factors: averaged fast and slow fading,

, and transmitted power , therefore, in practice,

gains ,

the value of can be often known beforehand [17].

Expression (2) has been widely used in order to describe RSS

values as a function of the distance between the transmitter and

the receiver in wireless communications [15], [16]. Usual examples of the use of this expression with specific values for

and are the known propagation models of free space, OkumuraHatam, Egli, etc. [15].

To sum up, our basic assumptions are given as follows.

In any propagation environment present between the MS

and each one of the APs, the relationship between RSSI

values and the distance between AP and MS can be modeled by (2).

parameter remains constant in scenarios where

The

and

, and the transmitted power

the antenna gains,

are also constant, situation typically found in most IEEE

802.11 WLANs. Therefore, it is possible to obtain the

value of by measurements taken in a generic environment similar to the one in which we are going to carry

out the location [15], [17], [18], and this value will be

valid whereas the antenna gains and the transmitted power

remains the same as the ones present when we obtain this

value.

Even though the value of the path loss exponent depends

highly on the specific channel environment presented between each specific AP and the MS at a given instant, we

can assume that this parameter remains constant during a

short period of time [18].

These basic hypotheses can be condensed in the following stateare RSSI values obtained from

ment: if

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MAZUELAS et al.: ROBUST INDOOR POSITIONING PROVIDED BY REAL-TIME RSSI VALUES IN UNMODIFIED WLAN NETWORKS

and the lapse of time

is so short that the environment channel between the MS and the

does not change, then, there is a value for so that

(3)

Due to the importance of this result in the development and

techniques presented in this paper, we are going to dedicate the

first part of Section VI to prove the suitability of expression (3)

with a large amount of measurements taken in several indoor

propagation environments.

(10)

and since

, the CRLB is

(11)

AND CRAMERRAO BOUNDS

In this section, we derive the expressions for the maximumlikelihood estimators (MLEs) and CramerRao lower bounds

(CRLB) for the estimation of the distance between the MS and

the APs. We derive the expressions in case we only have one

RSSI value in order to estimate the distance and also in case

we can have several RSSI values to estimate distance. This last

case is very frequent in WLAN networks since each AP sends

its beacon probes with a frequency in the order of milliseconds.

A. Case of One RSSI

As we have seen before, the RSSI

obtained by the

MS at a given instant with respect to the signal sent by the

can be modeled as a Gaussian random variable, that is

In the event that the MS could obtain RSSI values in time in, where

is a time interval in the order of a

stants

very few seconds, we can assume that the distance and environdid not change. We can estimate

ment between the MS and

this distance making use of all the RSSI values obtained in this

short period of time.

are independent random variables,

therefore the joint pdf of

conditioned

is

on the distance between the MS and the

(12)

(4)

and therefore the probability density function (pdf) of

ditioned on the distance between the MS and the

pressed as

conis ex-

(13)

(5)

thus the maximum-likelihood estimator of

823

is

(6)

To determine such maximum, we differentiate the log-likelihood function. Thereby we obtain the following score function:

is short

since we are assuming that the lapse of time

enough in order to assume the distance between the AP and

the MS does not change, it is also logical to assume that

,

and, therefore

(7)

therefore

(14)

(8)

and thus

(9)

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(15)

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IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN SIGNAL PROCESSING, VOL. 3, NO. 5, OCTOBER 2009

(16)

and therefore the CRLB is

(17)

To obtain distance estimations from RSSI values by using (9)

and (15), we have to use values for and ,

for

which (3) fits. On one hand, as we mentioned before and we will

show in Section VI, parameter only depends on the radiation

characteristics of the devices to be used. Therefore, it is easy to

obtain from few measurements taken in a reference place and

it can be used as a constant value in all the environments. On

the other hand, it is very difficult to have accurate estimates of

) which describe the

the path loss exponents ( ,

different propagations between the MS and each of the APs.

This is because, in principle, the above mentioned propagation

conditions are unpredictable and they could change abruptly in

time. A widely used simplification is to assume that all the path

loss exponents that model propagations between a MS and all

the APs are equal [17], [18], [20], [23] . This simplification in

a typical indoor environment is an oversimplification, since the

channel propagation is usually very different depending on the

relative position of the MS with regard to each AP, as we show in

the first part of Section VI. In this paper, we do not assume that

,(

).

such path loss exponents are equal, being

A. Compatibility of Distances Estimates

Making use of the MLE shown in (9) and (15) with cerwhich

tain values for the parameters and ,

describe the channel propagation models, we can obtain estidifferent

.

mates of distances between the MS and the

In this section, we are going to develop a technique to quantify

the compatibility of those distance estimates. By means of this

compatibility we can measure the goodness of the distance estimates.

, be

estimates of distances between

Let ,

APs which are on known positions

,

a MS and

. As we can see in Fig. 1, in the event that all estimated

circles with centers

and radistances were precise,

dius would intersect each other on a single point.

By this way, we can measure the compatibility of a group

distance estimates, measuring the extent to which the

of

circles, with each distance estimate as radius, cut each other on a

single point. The compatibility is quantified by a method based

on the radical axes of all the pairs of circles.

The radical axis (or geometric power line) of two circles is

the locus of points with equal geometric power from both circles

from each point on the radical axis to the circles is equal. In the

event that the two circles are not concentric, the radical axis is a

straight line perpendicular to the line connecting the centers of

the circles closer to the center of the circle with smaller radius.

Thus, the radical axis is a generalization of the perpendicular

bisector of the line connecting the centers and both, the radical

axis and the perpendicular bisectors, coincide when the circles

have the same radius. In Fig. 2, we can see several examples of

radical axis of circle pairs.

The geometric power of a point with respect to a circle is a real

number that reflects the relative distance of the point from the

circle. Thereby, the geometric power of a point with regard to a

circle is zero if the point belongs to the circle, it is negative if the

point lies inside the circle or it is positive if the point is outside

circles would cut each other in a single

the circle. Hence,

point if, and only if, a point exists with zero geometric power

circles cut each other in

with regard to all the circles. Thus,

radical axes obtained with

a single point, if the

the different pairs of circles cut each other in a single point and

circles. That is, if there is a point

this point belongs to all the

with the same geometric power with regard to all the circles and

the geometric power of this point with regard to all the circles

is zero.

Let

(18)

be the linear equation system formed by the

ical axes, where is a matrix with

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MAZUELAS et al.: ROBUST INDOOR POSITIONING PROVIDED BY REAL-TIME RSSI VALUES IN UNMODIFIED WLAN NETWORKS

825

path loss exponents

RSSI values. Therefore, we can quantify the compatibility obtained, using a set of path loss exponents by the following expression:

(22)

Fig. 3. Least squares solution of the six radical axes corresponding to four

circles.

components. In

Fig. 3, we can see a specific example with

circles and

the six corresponding radical axes.

In the event that all the radical axes cut each other on a single

point, this linear equation system has a unique solution. In the

general case, this system of linear (18) is an overdetermined

is the point that minsystem whose least squares solution

imizes the sum of the squared distances to the different radical

axes.

In Fig. 3, we can see the least squares solution of (18) in a

specific case. In general, the least squares solution of (18) becomes

(19)

Also, in Section VI-D, we are going to use this least squares

solution of the radical axes as an easy way to trilaterate.

Therefore, the

circles would cut each other on a single

point if and only if

(20)

it is clear that the more these values are different from zero the

circles would cut each other on a single point.

further the

estimates

Therefore, we can define the compatibility of the

of distances

as

(21)

where we have weighted the squares sum with the radii of each

circle in order to apply more relevance to the smaller circles

and the minus sign indicates that the sum of squares and the

compatibility are inversely related.

B. Least Squares Optimization

During a time interval

, using known APs positions

and RSSI values in (15), the expression (21) which quantifies

the compatibility of the distance estimates depends only on the

which best fit the different channel environments that take place

between the MS and each one of the APs, as the path loss exponents which maximize the compatibility expressed in (22), that

is

(23)

Thereby, we have transformed the problem of estimating

different path loss exponents into a nonlinear least squares

problem. This can be solved by using robust techniques like the

LevenbergMarquardt algorithm [25], [26].

C. Path Loss Exponents Constraints

The fact that all the distance estimates are compatible does

not imply that all the estimates are precise: compatibility is a

necessary but not sufficient condition to achieve precision in the

distance estimates. Therefore, in order to obtain optimum path

loss exponents in our specific problem we do not have to calculate the path loss exponents which maximize the compatibility

in a global fashion but the path loss exponents which, belonging

to a feasible set of solutions, maximize the compatibility function

(24)

In order to determine an appropriate feasible set, we can use

some heuristic reasonings. For example, it is clear that the path

loss exponents are always going to lie between a maximum and a

minimum which can be roughly known a priori. That is

.

Also, we can determine other constraints to the path loss exponents which make the set of feasible solutions more restricis the set of RSSI values obtained

tive. Thereby, if

with respect to the

APs. Let

in an instant of time

be the

APs sorted according to the average RSSI values obtained in this lapse of time, that is

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(25)

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IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN SIGNAL PROCESSING, VOL. 3, NO. 5, OCTOBER 2009

(30)

where the value of

will be a number slightly higher than 1

and describes the relevance that we want to impose to a difference of average signal strengths in terms of distance difference.

In the same way as we did before, we are going to convert the

distance constraints into path loss exponents constraints

(31)

is

between the MS and the APs sorted according

to their average RSSI values.

In a usual homogeneous deployment of APs in a WLAN network, it is reasonable to assume that the distance from the first

will be less than a constant,

. For example, we

AP,

and

can choose a fraction of the known distance between

. Also, if

is the distance between

and

, it

follows that

(26)

Thereby, we can enclose both the maximum distance to the

AP from which we receive the most average signal strength and

the minimum distance to the AP from which we receive the least

average signal strength.

By using (9) and (15) we can translate distance constraints

into path loss exponents constraints, therefore

if

(32)

is a convex set, indeed it is a polyhedral set and therefore variants of the LevenbergMarquardt algorithm [27] can be applied

in order to resolve (32), where we can choose, as an initial guess

in the algorithm, a rough approximation of the path loss expoor the center of the polyhedron .

nents like

VI. RESULTS WITH MEASUREMENTS AND SIMULATIONS

A. Relationship Between RSS and Distance

(27)

Moreover, we can obtain other type of constraints imposing

relations between different distances. It is clear that although

,

, this fact does not imply that

.

However, it is logical that this distance difference exists if the

difference in the average signal strength is great enough. Therefore,

(28)

moreover, this difference in the distances depends on how great

the difference in the average signal strength is. Therefore, if

thus

, where is a value which decreases when the difference between the average RSS increases.

it occurs that

In the case that

(29)

In this section, we are going to show the suitability of expressions (2) and (3). In order to do that we carried out a large campaign of measurements on the second floor of the Higher Technical School of Telecommunications, University of Valladolid

(Spain), shown in Fig. 9.

As for APs, we used eight identical wireless broadband

routers with two antennas each, in diversity mode, which is

typically found on most IEEE 802.11 WLAN routers. APs were

configured to send a beacon frame every 10 ms to constant

power. Diversity circuitry determines which antenna has better

reception and switches it on in a fraction of a second while

it turns off the other antenna. Therefore, both antennas are

never active at the same time. APs have omnidirectional rubber

duck antennas mounted. These are vertically polarized with a

symmetrical 360 radiation pattern in the horizontal plane and

with a vertical beamwidth of approximately 75 . As for MS,

we used a WLAN cardbus adapter with a vertically polarized

omnidirectional external antenna, also found on most IEEE

802.11 WLAN adapters.

MAZUELAS et al.: ROBUST INDOOR POSITIONING PROVIDED BY REAL-TIME RSSI VALUES IN UNMODIFIED WLAN NETWORKS

surements in four different environments.

827

estimation depending on the path loss exponents used.

and the MS fulfills the expression

(33)

Fig. 6. Simulation Scenario.

antenna to the receiver (MS) antenna, when free space propagation exists between them, can be expressed as the product of

two independent factors; one of them depending on the directional properties of the transmitting antenna, and the other one

depending on the directional properties of the receiving antenna.

In order to ensure that in expression (2), we can use a value of

obtained beforehand, we need these directional properties between both the receiver and transmitter antennas to remain unchanged as those present where this value was obtained. Since

both antennas have omnidirectional radiation patterns, we can

assume that the amount of power caused by the antenna gains

remains constant if the receiver lies in the vertical beamwidth of

and

are the height of the AP and the MS, rewhere

spectively, which are located on the same floor. Therefore, we

can assume that the antenna gains of the devices remain constant in all indoor environments.

In order to obtain a value for that we can use in the subsequent location process, we carried out several measurements in

a specific indoor environment taking place in a corridor of the

School. In Fig. 4, we can see the relation between distance and

dBm and

.

these RSSI values, getting

In order to show the reliability of (2) and the suitability of

the assumptions made in Section III and expressed in (3), we

performed eight groups of measurements in four types of environments, varying the distance between the transmitter and the

receiver. In Table I, we can see the values obtained for the path

loss exponents, , in environments with a different number of

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IEEE JOURNAL OF SELECTED TOPICS IN SIGNAL PROCESSING, VOL. 3, NO. 5, OCTOBER 2009

Fig. 9. Trilaterations obtained on the second floor of the Higher Technical School of Telecommunications Engineering.

TABLE I

VALUES FOR (2) TAKING

dBm WITH REAL MEASUREMENTS

IN SEVERAL ENVIRONMENTS

= 052

also see the mean and the standard deviation of expression (2)

dBm, in order to show

in which we have always used

the validity of using an approximate and constant value for in

different environments.

Moreover, in Fig. 5, we can see the suitability of expression

(3) by observing the histogram obtained with the eight groups

of measurements.

B. Estimation of Path Loss Exponents

In this section, we present the results obtained in a simulation

performed in order to show the accuracy of the method introduced in Section V to estimate path loss exponents.

In order to do that, we carried out a simulation in which we

put six APs in the vertices and center of a regular pentagon

with radius 40 m, as we can see in Fig. 6. We simulated groups

of 100 RSSI values from the six APs by using expression (2)

with uniform random path loss exponents. Specifically,

,

,

,

and

, where

are the six

different path loss exponents that characterize the propagation

channel from the six APs sorted by their proximity to the MS.

Also the standard deviation of shadow fading was simulated as

a random value between 2.85 dBm and 3.45 dBm. We repeated

this simulation 5000 times randomly varying the position of the

MS between the circles shown in Fig. 6.

In Fig. 7, we can see the histogram of the 30 000 errors occurred in the path loss exponents estimation by using the method

dB,

,

introduced in Section V, where we use

, and

as the parameters used to obtain the

path loss exponents constraints. As we can see, the method introduced is very accurate, achieving a mean error of 0.2003 and

a standard deviation of 0.2052.

C. Estimation of Distances From RSSI Values

In this section, we show the accuracy in distance estimation

obtained by using the estimated path loss exponents. In order

to do that, in the simulation scenario explained before, we estimated distances between the MS and different APs by means

of (15). To show the suitability of the estimated path loss exponents, we compare in Fig. 8 the errors that occurred in the

estimated path loss exponents with:

the CRLB of errors shown in Section IV;

the errors in the ideal case of knowing the real path loss

exponents (RPLE);

,

,

the errors using the values

, and

which are the middle

values of the random values used to simulate the path loss

exponents, (MPLE);

the errors with the two-slope path loss model recommended by the IEEE 802.11 standard [22] for this

for distances shorter

environment, that is, using

than 20 m and

for longer distances, (SPLE).

Also, in Fig. 8 we can appreciate the great accuracy obtained

by the method presented (diamond marks), since it achieved

a mean error of 9.0861 m, that is a mean error of approximately 20% of the distance between APs. Notice that all the

other methods are impractical, since in real scenarios we do not

know the exact real values for path loss exponents nor even a

very good approximation of them (MPLE), unless we perform

a wide set of previous measurements. Even so, the method presented outperforms methods using approximate values for the

path loss exponents, a remarkable fact, taking into account that

the method presented does not use any calibration. Additionally,

in Fig. 8, we can see that the values of the expression for the

CRLB derived in Section IV are very close to the errors using

exact real values for path loss exponents, a fact that is a very

logical result.

D. Trilateration Results

In order to show the feasibility and suitability of the methods

proposed, we tested the techniques explained before in the indoor environment of the second floor of the Higher Technical

School of Telecommunications Engineering.

As MS we used a laptop with an IEEE 802.11 cardbus

adapter. We implemented an ANSI C program which obtains

the RSSI values corresponding to the beacon probes sent every

10 ms by eight APs located on the second floor of the School

(see Fig. 9). At each instant, this program uses the real-time

RSSI values from the four most powerful APs in order to

estimate the path loss exponents and hence the actual distances

to these four APs, by using the method presented with the

same parameters explained in Section VI-C. To quantify the

effectiveness of the method presented, we have also estimated

the different distances by using a constant path loss exponent

of 2, which is the value recommended by the standard for

distances lower than 20 m [12].

To illustrate the improvement brought by the proposed

method, we trilaterate in order to compare the MS position

when using the estimated distances by the proposed method

and when using the estimated distances from constant path loss

exponents. We walked with the laptop along the route shown

in blue in Fig. 9 taking measurements in 121 points. Thereby,

in red we can see the trilateration positions obtained by using

the method proposed and, in purple, some positions obtained

by using constant path loss exponents, where 50.4% of the

estimated positions obtained by this method are not shown,

since they lie outside this map. Therefore, as we can see in

Fig. 9, the method proposed achieves a high level of accuracy,

and we want to point out that this result was achieved only

through trilateration without any tracking technique.

Moreover, in Fig. 10, we can see the cumulative probability

of errors obtained with the method proposed and by using constant path loss exponents. The mean of errors committed with

the method proposed was 3.97 m with a standard deviation of

1.18 m. Obviously, the positioning accuracy can be improved

by using some tracking technique such as Kalman filters, but in

this section we want to show the feasibility of the methods proposed and the reliability of the path loss exponents and distance

estimates obtained from the methods presented.

829

VII. CONCLUSION

A novel indoor location method is presented in this paper.

This novel method is based on trilateration through RSSI values

obtained in real time. The path loss exponents which characterize the propagation channel between the MS and each AP

are dynamically estimated from RSSI values by assessing and

maximizing the compatibility of the distances estimates. Once

the path loss exponent is estimated, the distance between the

MS and each AP can be obtained and, therefore, MS position is

achieved by trilateration.

With this indoor location method, neither a previous calibration stage nor any radio-map information are needed. Therefore, this method is robust in dynamic environments as well

as having a low complexity, since it uses only real-time RSSI

values, without needing any change to the WLAN IEEE 802.11

network.

Results using both simulations and measurements are shown

in order to prove the reliability and suitability of the method

proposed. A mean error slightly lower than 4 m is obtained in

an unmodified WLAN network deployment, without using any

other tracking technique.

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and Telecommunication Engineer degrees and the

Ph.D. degree in mathematics from the University

of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain, in 2002, 2007, and

2009, respectively. He is currently working toward

the Ph.D. degree in telecommunications in the

Center for the Development of Telecommunications

(CEDETEL), University of Valladolid.

Since 2006, he has worked as Researcher in

the CEDETEL. His research interests include

radiolocation technologies, signal processing and

mathematics.

Mr. Mazuelas received the young scientists prize for the best communication in the Union Radio-Scientifique Internationale (URSI) XXII Symposium

(Spain).

Engineer degree from the University of Valladolid,

Valladolid, Spain in 2006. He is currently working

toward the Ph.D. degree in the Department of

Signal Theory and Communications and Telematics

Engineering, University of Valladolid.

His research interests include numerical methods

in electromagnetics, radio propagation modeling and

radiolocalization techniques for indoor and outdoor

communications.

Ruben M. Lorenzo received the Telecommunication Engineer and Ph.D. degrees from the University

of Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain, in 1996 and 1999,

respectively.

From 1996 to 2000, he was a Junior Lecturer

at the University of Valladolid with the Optical

Communications Group. Since 2000, he has been

a Lecturer. He is currently the Head of the Faculty

of Telecommunication Engineering at the University of Valladolid and Research Director of the

Center for the Development of Telecommunications

(CEDETEL). His main research topics include communication systems and

networks, electromagnetic characterization, and radiolocation.

Patricia Fernandez received the Telecommunication Engineer degree from Universidad Politecnica

de Cataluna, Barcelona, Spain, in 1997 and the Ph.D.

degree in 2004 from the University of Valladolid,

Valladolid, Spain.

Since 1999, she has been a Junior Lecturer at the

University of Valladolid. Her current research interests are communication systems and networks, electromagnetic characterization, and radiolocation.

Dr. Fernandez is the author of more than 40 papers

in international journals and conferences.

Engineer degree from the University of Valladolid,

Valladolid, Spain, in 2003.

From 2003 to 2004, he was a Research Assistant

at the University of Valladolid, becoming a Junior

Lecturer in 2004 until 2007. He is currently an active research collaborator in the Department of Signal

Theory and Communications and Telematics Engineering at the University of Valladolid. His research

interests include wireless positioning, wireless propagation analysis and modeling, and wireless systems

design. He is the author of 14 papers in international journals and conferences.

Engineer degree from the University of Valladolid,

Valladolid, Spain, in 2008.

In 2008, He joined the Center for the Development

of Telecommunications (CEDETEL), working in

the area of radiolocalization research. Currently, he

is working on R&D projects focused in mobility.

His research interests include indoor localization

technologies and the development of mobility

applications in different areas.

Juan Blas received the Ph.D. degree in Telecommunication Engineering from the University of

Valladolid, Valladolid, Spain, in 2008.

He is an Associate Lecturer with the University

of Valladolid. In 2006, he joined the Center for the

Development of Telecommunications (CEDETEL),

University of Valladolid, as a Research Engineer.

His main research interests include propagation

models, interactions between electromagnetic fields

and living matter, and antennas.

831

Engineering and Ph.D. degrees from the Universidad

Politecnica de Madrid, Madrid, Spain, in 1985 and

1987, respectively.

From 1984 to 1986, he was a Research Assistant

at the Universidad Politcnica de Madrid, becoming

a Lecturer in 1987. Since 1995, he has been a Full

Professor at University of Valladolid, Valladolid,

Spain, where he founded the Optical Communications Group. He is currently the Chancellor of the

University of Valladolid. His research interests include communication systems and networks, electromagnetic characterization,

and radiolocation. He is the author of more than 100 papers in international

journals and conferences.

All in-text references underlined in blue are linked to publications on ResearchGate, letting you access and read them immediately.

Authorized licensed use limited to: National Taiwan University. Downloaded on August 06,2010 at 03:32:43 UTC from IEEE Xplore. Restrictions apply.

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