Published September 26, 2023 | Version Author's version
Conference paper Open

BLoB: Beating-based Localization for Single-antenna BLE Devices

  • 1. Toshiba Europe Ltd
  • 2. Technology Innovation Institute
  • 3. Graz University of Technology
  • 4. University of Bristol
  • 5. TU Delft


Low-power wireless communication protocols based on synchronous transmissions have recently gained popularity. In such protocols, packets can be demodulated correctly even though several devices transmit at the same time, which results in high reliability and energy efficiency. A by-product of synchronous transmissions is the beating effect: a sinusoidal pattern of constructive and destructive interference across the received signal. In this paper, we leverage this beating to propose a new localization approach. Specifically, we present BLoB, a system in which multiple anchors transmit packets synchronously using the constant tone extension, an optional bit sequence introduced by BLE 5.1, whose signal is sent with constant amplitude and frequency. We let mobile tags sample the superimposed signal resulting from the synchronous transmissions, and extract peaks in the beating and signal spectrum. These peaks provide key insights about the anchors’ location that complement received signal strength information and allow BLoB to derive a tag’s position with sub-meter accuracy. A key property of BLoB is that both anchors and tags employ a single antenna, in contrast to state-of-the-art localization schemes based on angle of arrival/departure information that require costly and bulky antenna arrays to achieve sub-meter accuracy. We implement BLoB on off-the-shelf BLE devices and evaluate its performance experimentally in both static and mobile settings, and in different environments: office rooms, library, meeting room, and sports hall. Our results show that BLoB can distinguish several anchors in a single synchronous transmission and that it retains a sub-meter localization accuracy even in challenging indoor environments.



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ENLIGHTEM – European Training Network in Low-energy Visible Light IoT Systems 814215
European Commission