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Topic: Tracking locations through Wi-Fi network (Read 322 times) previous topic - next topic


Dec 06, 2017, 11:22 am Last Edit: Dec 06, 2017, 03:34 pm by TOSAB_2018
hello everyone,

In a youtube video of Andreas Spiess he built a sensor that "monitors its environment and detects all smartphones with enabled WI-Fi functionality, and detects how far away the smartphone is using the signal strength." He can do this by using the Wi-Fi mode promiscuous, which receives all wifi signals, also the signals which are not directed to itself. He uses the arduino module ESP8266. See video ==> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fmhjtzmLrg8&t=33s

So I'm working on a project where a object is launched up to 1 kilometer, and I am going to try tracking certain objects on the ground using the that method above, the only problem is that the range isn't wide enough. Is there any way I would be able to increase the range on the ESP8266, so it's able to reach signals up to 1 kilometer away?

Thanks in Advance,

Martijn van Dongeren


Is there any way I would be able to increase the range on the ESP8266, so it's able to reach signals up to 1 kilometer away?
In general: no.

The technique showed in the video doesn't provide an exact distance it does only give you a very raw estimate which isn't reliable by any mean. It's enough to tell you the smartphone is more than a few meters away or it's quite near but that's about the information you can get. Don't expect values like "the phone is at a distance of 2.5m".
1km is out of reach even if you have a clear line of sight.

Provide more information about what you try to achieve and what specification you must reach.


With my phone I have picked up WiFi signals at greater distances than that - I was on a hilltop with clear line of sight. But it was faint, couldn't make a connection. Probably I also encountered the correct atmospheric conditions as normally WiFi doesn't go that far.

Signal strength is anyway a very rough indication of distance.

Even if you would get a fairly accurate distance, that doesn't really help you with tracking objects on the ground as you don't have any idea of the direction in which it is in. If you want to triangulate the location of an object you need at least three distances, or two directions, for a 2D triangulation. One more distance or direction for 3D triangulation.
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