There is an increased interest in WiFi location-based services. Traditionally, location information of WiFi devices is extracted from Timing Measurements (TM) with a 10ns timestamp resolution. A follow-up has been proposed, called Fine Time Measurement (FTM), with a 0.1ns timestamp resolution. Time-sensitive application will benefit from the improved accuracy delivered by FTM. The principle is based on taking subsequent timestamp measurements, and passes timestamps from prior measurements into a look-up table.

FTM is expected to deliver meter-level accuracy for indoor device location data. This standardized approach for precisely determining location opens new opportunities for mobile services, to support indoor navigation, asset tracking, network management, emergency services, and other location-based-services (LBS) without the sacrifices often associated with indoor use.

Several companies (Intel, Broadcom, Qualcomm) have demonstrated FTM prototypes to show the location of WiFi devices as they move around. In the meantime, an IEEE 802.11 working group is looking for protocol opportunities with better accuracy compared to FTM, which is called next-generation-positioning (NGP). The target is go from meter-accuracy to decimeter-accuracy.


Project Description

In this MSc. thesis project, the accurate location capabilities of future generation WiFi devices will be further investigated.

The project can be broadly divided in three main phases:

  1. Literature overview The student gets acquainted with the state of the art TM, FTM, next-generation-positioning (NGP) systems, the relevant sections from IEEE 802.11 draft standards, and studies the expected accuracy from literature.
  2. FTM system Using the literate overview, the student proposes to buy a FTM prototype system, to measure in detail the location accuracy, and compare the experimental results to expected accuracy from system simulations.
  3. NGP system Based on the gained knowledge, the student proposes a protocol that improves the accuracy of FTM. Approaches can be to use shorter packets, use mid-ambles and post-ambles, etc.

At the end of the project, the student is expected to produce a comprehensive project/MSc thesis report.

Candidate Background

The candidate is a Master’s student in Electrical Engineering, with a high affinity for and solid knowledge of signal processing for communications and localization. The candidate likes to work with electronic hardware prototypes. Knowledge of Matlab or C is required. Good spoken and written English is a must. Expected project duration is 9 months.


The project will be carried out at Imec / Holst Centre at High Tech Campus 31, Eindhoven