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BLUETOOTH – Real Time Locating System (RTLS)

Since the introduction of Bluetooth 4.0 (Bluetooth Low Energy), which includes location-oriented specific profiles, Bluetooth technologies have become very valuable for location-based applications. The technology is well suited to both Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) and Angular-based measurement methods for Real-Time Location Systems (RTLS). Unfortunately, the deployment of Bluetooth solutions is hindered by a common misconception about the technology: that Bluetooth is just a Wireless Personal Area Network (WPAN) technology and the distance between the transmitter and receiver is restricted to about 10 meters. When we hear the word Bluetooth, we immediately think of common consumer applications such as Bluetooth headphones and speakers that have limited ranges. However, Bluetooth radio technologies are not restricted to 10 meters.

A Bluetooth radio is able to communicate at 1Mbps or faster for a distance of up to 10 meters. But, if the throughput requirements are lowered, for instance by using small radio packets like the Bluetooth LE Advertising packet format, then the communication range can increase to hundreds of meters. In other words, the communication distance between transmitter and receiver is inversely proportional to the bit rate, so the smaller the communication rate (in bps) the longer the range.

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