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Date: 09-04-22

A new Bluetooth antenna board from u‑blox for indoor positioning

When you are walking in a warehouse, a mall, or any such a large indoor building, position finding helps to quickly reaching the point you're looking for.  Generally satellite GPS doesn't work that well in indoor positioning. To accurately provide position data a new Bluetooth standards is updated to assist direction finding and position finding through Bluetooth beacons. The Bluetooth-based location service can deliver Centimeter level accuracy.

Wireless chipset module maker u‑blox has made available u‑blox ANT-B10 antenna board for Bluetooth direction finding and indoor positioning applications. This wireless hardware module can be integrated into position-data-requiring equipments and devices allowing them to provide high precision indoor positioning.

Bluetooth indoor positioning uses the angle of arrival (AoA) of a Bluetooth direction finding signal emitted by a mobile tag at several fixed anchor points to calculate the tag’s location in real-time with sub-meter accuracy. The technology, which benefits from Bluetooth’s vast ecosystem and interoperability across platforms, is gaining traction due to its low cost, high accuracy, and relative ease of installation and maintenance, says U-blox in its release.

ANT-B10 is a self-contained Bluetooth low energy antenna board  having eight individual patch antennas and is built around a u‑blox NINA-B411 Bluetooth 5.1 module.  The system as angle calculation processor which outputs directly the calculated angle of arrival.

The XPLR-AOA-3 explorer kit from u-blox allows evaluation and testing of  ANT-B10 antenna board, and u‑blox’s direction finding algorithm. An off-the-shelf pin header on the application board allows for easy bring-up and testing of ANT-B10 and third-party antenna boards. And connecting the two boards yields a ready-to-use AoA indoor positioning anchor point in seconds. Hospitals, retail environments, and museums are some of the places where this technology finds use.

ANT-B10 board concurrently processes the incoming signal  on all eight patch antennas to find the angle. ANT-B10 board employs single RF switch device from  CoreHW that multiplex the eight antennas at a microsecond timescale.

“We are excited to be part of such a great all-round indoor positioning solution. U‑blox has really demonstrated its commitment to bringing down the barriers to entry for Bluetooth indoor positioning solutions and popularizing the technology,” says Mika Jäsberg, VP Components at CoreHW.

“With the introduction of ANT-B10 and the XPLR-AOA-3 kit, we are excited to offer a complete u‑blox RF-to-cloud solution for Bluetooth-based indoor positioning and direction finding. The solution lets developers benefit from our in-house expertise in angle calculation and multipath suppression, saving development costs and shortening time to market,” says Giorgos Marakis, Product Strategy, Short Range Radio, at u‑blox.

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