05 Jan 2021 18 min


Last update 05 APR 2024

Indoor positioning system using Wi-Fi: does your business need it?

Navigine - Indoor positioning system using Wi-Fi: does your business need it?
05 Jan 2021 18 min


Last update 05 APR 2024

In recent years Wi-Fi positioning system (WPS) has found more and more applications in many spheres. It is used not only outside but also inside buildings where GPS navigation can’t work properly because of signal blocking, the multiplicity of paths, and some other reasons. Wi-Fi provides the exact location of objects and persons, which helps to optimize business processes and increase the company’s profit.

Statistically speaking, the total global Wi-Fi market in 2023 was at $14.5 billion. According to expert forecasts, these numbers will only continue to grow in the future. In the coming years, the average annual growth rate will be 22.2%, and by 2028 the market volume will be estimated at $39.4 billion.

Key Takeaways

  • Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS) allows you to accurately locate objects and people indoors.
  • WPS uses Wi-Fi access points to determine the location in a room using RSSI and MAC address, providing accurate location information.
  • Wi-Fi location accuracy depends on the number of access points, the building topology, and the type of smartphone: modern Android devices provide accuracy within 2-3 meters.
  • The advantage of Wi-Fi-based indoor navigation is that it can be scaled using existing Wi-Fi access points without the need for additional equipment or infrastructure maintenance.
  • Wi-Fi indoor positioning is used in various industries such as transportation, logistics, industry, offices, exhibitions, and museums.


The wireless indoor positioning system works by defining coordinates using Wi-Fi access points that can transmit certain data. Using the RSSI (received signal strength indicator) and MAC-address, the system can define exactly the current location of the user’s device using the multilateration approach.

The accuracy of indoor positioning system using Wi-Fi depends on the number of access points, the topology of the building, and the smartphone type. Modern Android-based smartphones could provide indoor positioning as precise as 2 - 3 m.

Wi-Fi location system uses the entire Wi-Fi infrastructure that includes not only Wi-Fi routers, but also phones, and tablets. By employing Wi-Fi access points, the system can easily define any Wi-Fi-powered devices' location and monitor their movement inside the building.

Navigine Indoor Navigation Kit
Try all the possibilities of indoor navigation with the Navigine Demo Kit!
Indoor navigation solution


The exact location detection using Wi-Fi is becoming more and more important for enterprises, warehouses, and other businesses, as there is a growing need to monitor the position and movement of valuable assets by using special indoor positioning platforms, such as various tracking systems and indoor navigation mobile applications. Wi-Fi positioning technology can provide numerous benefits for enterprises due to its following advantages:

  • already installed Wi-Fi infrastructure can be used for indoor positioning;
  • there is no necessity for additional equipment and infrastructure maintenance;
  • the system can use a wide range of different types of existing Wi-Fi access points;
  • there is a possibility to scale the system without manual intervention;
  • the system can have a long signal range – up to 150 m;
  • the system works fine with other positioning technologies for improving accuracy and a more flexible deployment.

But how does Wi-Fi compare to other positioning technologies like Bluetooth, UWB, AoA, and even GPS? The table below offers a quick visual guide to their key differences, including accuracy, range, battery consumption, and more.

Comparison of Wi-Fi and other technologies

Comparison of Wi-Fi and other technologies

Possible disadvantages of an indoor Wi-Fi positioning system

The Wi-Fi positioning system has not only pros but also some cons. These can include:

  • Suboptimal accuracy. Wi-Fi localization accuracy can reach up to 50 ft, which is not always suitable for determining the location of valuable assets. In comparison, Bluetooth® Low Energy provides an accuracy of 6-13 ft. To solve the problem, it’s recommended to supplement Wi-Fi with other technology types.
  • Security threat. Wi-Fi is one of the most common wireless protocols and is extremely prone to cyber attacks. Poor security will usually be one of the issues of this network, but at the same time, there will always be companies working to protect Wi-Fi networks from hacking.


Wi-Fi RSSI-based positioning works well for Android devices. However with the latest Android version (see table below) there are some changes that limit Wi-Fi scanning capabilities.

Unfortunately, it is not possible now (2024) to use Wi-Fi for indoor positioning on iPhones/iPads as Apple prevents applications from getting Wi-Fi environment data due to privacy concerns.

OS version Wi-Fi Scanning Frequency Wi-Fi Throttling Pure Wi-Fi Positioning Accuracy Indoor positioning accuracy (Wi-Fi + inertial sensors)
Any iOS device N/A N/A N/A N/A
Android 8 and earlier 1 sec - 3-5 m 2-3m
Android 9 4 times / 2 min + 10-30 m 8-15 m
Android 10 4 times / 2 min +/- 10-30 m 8-15 m
Android 11 4 times / 2 min +/- 10-30 m 8-15 m

Table 1. Wi-Fi positioning accuracy and scanning limitations.

More information about Wi-Fi throttling can be found in this article How to Avoid WiFi Throttling on Android Devices.


Indoor location-based on Wi-Fi is used in many spheres – from transport and logistics to industry, offices, exhibitions, and museums.


The technology helps to optimize transport processes and lets passengers quickly find the route to the necessary place inside airports, and railway stations. Using this system, it becomes possible to make interactive maps with points of interest, track people’s flows, and ensure staff navigation in traffic centers. Constant monitoring of passenger transportation enables to quickly react to changing conditions and improve the quality of passenger services.

Any questions about the article?
Leave a request

Logistics and warehouses

The companies, which specialize in logistics and warehousing, can use Wi-Fi for positioning order pickers, vehicles, and cargo. The system provides detailed information on asset location and helps to automate many warehousing operations. Thanks to the constant navigation of the warehouse staff, it is possible to adjust daily tasks in real-time, increase efficiency, and timely react to emergencies.


The Wi-Fi indoor navigation system is an optimal means of positioning moving objects in industrial enterprises. Its implementation allows for solving many important tasks:

  • increase staff safety;
  • reduce costs on vehicle downtime;
  • decrease the number of emergencies;
  • adjust the routes of special vehicles in real-time;
  • perform analytics for making effective management decisions.


Wi-Fi can be successfully implemented in indoor positioning at large administrative buildings. The wireless indoor localization system can build step-by-step routes to the required office, send notifications and tips that depend on the person’s location. Thanks to the continuous gathering of information on movements in an office, it’s possible to perform exact analytics and optimize the work of office systems.

Museums and exhibitions

Using Wi-Fi, you can create guides and mobile applications that will improve the performance of exhibitions and museums. The indoor wireless positioning system helps to build interactive maps of halls, and develop the easiest and best routes to the required exhibit. The exhibition organizers can collect geodata on visitors and carefully study their behavior to plan expositions rationally.

Navigine offers a precise solution for Wi-Fi positioning systems. With our help, you get an accurate and functional tool for positioning that can be effectively implemented in your mobile applications (Android, iOS).

Navigine's Open Source Initiative

Navigine also supports the Open Source concept and makes various navigation algorithms developed by the company publicly available. Our algorithms allow developers to easily modify and enhance the source code for their use. We believe that our code can bring significant benefits to third-party software developers and regularly test new R&D activities to create extremely precise navigation systems. Navigine's algorithms can be used for applications for various industries, including retail, manufacturing, warehousing, automotive, healthcare, transportation, and more.


Wi-Fi standard is developing, standard IEEE_802.11mc provides new types of measurements that allow to directly measure distance (round trip time, RTT) between transmitter and receiver. More information about using this approach for indoor positioning could be found in our article on how Wi-Fi RTT takes Indoor Positioning to the next level.

If you're looking to utilize Wi-Fi indoor positioning capabilities for your business or project, we're here to help. Contact us today to discuss your specific needs and learn how our solutions can help you navigate the future with confidence.

Book a meeting