Final Year University Project WiFi Recommendation

Hello fellow forumers,

I am currently a second year student studying computer science and will be, for my final year project (next year), be building a robot that maps out the WiFi signals from within a building and then uses this data to find its way around. However, I am not able to find a suitable WiFi module that is capable of connecting to a standard 802.11 wireless network and is also able to collect signal strength and MAC addresses of near by wireless access points. Is there anybody out there that could recommend me one?

Thanks a lot,

My opinion is that your reception of multiple Wifi signals will not be a viable method of determining the direction and distance from the robot to the various Wifi source signals. RF signals are just not directional enough and signal level can and does have lots of variation due to reflections, material absorption, etc. The antenna on the robot would have to be designed to be very very directional and even then I still think reflections would be a big problem.

Not to try and discourage you, but if success is part of the project goal (and final grade!) I would spend some time with using independent RF detectors and antenna design, independent of a robot to see if the signal strength and direction signals are going to be usable for the final project objectives.


To save duplicate effort.

Which WiFi devices have you considered and found wanting?

Probably a cheap router that supports Open-Wrt or DD-WRT could handle everything.

I was looking at the WiFly module from Sparkfun

If network stumbler is open source, you might look there to modify that code and use with a netbook.

I'm with retrolefty on this one. I don't see it as a great method to do what you want -- for numerous reasons including "where the heck is the nav info".

Mainly though you do not seem to have done any research and are asking other people to do that. You should look for WiFi adapters outside the standard Arduino shields if you have any hope of making a success of this.

Even if you do find a shield, what exactly is it that the WiFi signals provide that permit navigation or location information to be extracted? I just don't see it -- but am wiling to learn. I do work with exploration mapping systems so I would be curious to see if we could ditch our expensive Trimble sub meter GPS systems -- because if you can navigate hallways (sub-meter) using wifi then I have to ask: "What else is possible...???"

Maybe another method is in order...

I used a WiShield in a few of my projects and found it a really nice bit of kit with some nicely fleshed out library and examples. Problem is im not sure if its capable of what you want to achieve and also it might be a bit a hassle finding one as the compnay that makes them (AsyncLabs) has just folded :S

Holy cow, if you could pull that off, it would be freakin' genius!

I assume what you're thinking is have the robot explore it's surroundings using (for example) the "Left hand rule" or the "Right hand rule" while building a map of signal strengths to the available WiFi hubs.

Then it could refine the map by testing all available paths not exposed by the rule following in the closest proximity of the hubs.