UWB(Ultra Wide band) vs Bluetooth AoA(Angle of Arrival) Positioning

UWB (Ultra Wide band) is a wireless communication technology that uses a very large portion of the electromagnetic spectrum to transmit data over short distances. It is characterized by the ability to transmit large amounts of data at very high speeds, and with very low power consumption. UWB is commonly used in applications such as radar systems, radio frequency identification (RFID), and wireless communications in general. It is also used in location-based services, medical devices, and automotive technology.

How UWB Works?
Once a device equipped with a UWB radio (such as a smartphone, wristband, or mart key) comes within range of another UWB device, the devices begin ranging. The ranging is accomplished by performing time-of-flight (ToF) measurements between devices. TOF is calculated by measuring the round-trip time of a challenge/response packet. Depending on the type of application (e.g. in case of asset tracking, device location), mobile or stationary UWB devices calculate the precise location of the device. In the case of a device running an indoor navigation service, it needs to know its position relative to a fixed UWB anchor and calculate its position on the area map.

UWB uses a very large channel bandwidth (500 MHz) with short pulses of about 2 ns each; this helps to achieve centimeter precision. The UWB positioning process occurs instantaneously, so the movement of mobile devices can be tracked very accurately in real time.


UWB technology offers many unique features that make it attractive for various applications:
1. High data rate: UWB can transmit data at very high speeds, up to several gigabits per second, making it ideal for applications such as video streaming and high-speed file transfer.

2. Low power consumption: UWB uses very low power, making it an excellent choice for battery-powered devices, such as smartphones and wearable devices.

3. High precision positioning: UWB can provide accurate positioning and location tracking, with an accuracy of up to a few centimeters, making it ideal for use in indoor navigation and asset tracking systems.

4. Immunity to interference: UWB uses a wide frequency range and has low susceptibility to interference from other wireless signals, ensuring reliable communication in crowded environments.

5. Security: UWB employs a unique modulation scheme that makes it difficult to intercept or jam, providing enhanced security for sensitive data transmission.

6. Multi-band support: UWB supports multiple frequency bands, enabling it to operate in different regions worldwide and providing flexibility in choosing the best frequency band for a particular application.

7. Low latency: UWB has very low latency, making it ideal for time-critical applications, such as real-time communication and control systems.

AoA stands for Angle of Arrival. AoA positioning is a technique that uses the angle of arrival of a signal at multiple points to determine the location of the source. It is a method used in various applications, such as navigation systems, wireless communication networks, and radar systems. In AoA positioning, multiple antennas or sensors are strategically placed to receive signals from different angles. The signal arrival angle at each antenna is then measured and used to determine the source’s location. AoA positioning is useful because it can provide accurate location information in areas where GPS signals are weak or unavailable.

The applications for AoA Positioning

1. Asset Tracking:

AoA positioning systems can be used to locate and track the movement of valuable assets such as equipment or inventory. This can help businesses increase efficiency, reduce losses and optimize asset utilization.


2. Smart healthcare:

AoA positioning systems can be used to locate and track medical equipment and assist in patient tracking and care. This can help healthcare providers improve patient outcomes and reduce the risk of error.


3. Indoor navigation:

AoA positioning systems can provide real-time directions and help users navigate complex indoor environments. It can be used for indoor navigation by using the direction of the BLE beacon signal to determine the location of the device.

This can be achieved by installing BLE gateways in fixed locations throughout the building, then using the AoA information from these beacons to triangulate the location of the device. The device can then use this information to display a map of the building and guide the user to their destination.


4. Real-time positioning system:

By installing BLE locators at fixed locations throughout a building, a device’s location can be determined in real time by measuring the signal strength and direction of the beacon signal.

This information can then be used to track the location and movement of people or assets within a building, providing valuable insights and supporting a range of applications such as asset tracking, safety and security, and wayfinding.

Comparison of UWB and Bluetooth AOA positioning:

1. Positioning accuracy comparison
UWB can achieve an accuracy of 0.1-0.3 meters, which is twice that of Bluetooth AoA positioning.In actual scenarios, the ability of UWB to penetrate obstacles is stronger than that of Bluetooth; and the effective transmission distance of UWB wireless positioning is more than 10m, which is about twice that of Bluetooth AoA positioning.

2. The number of base stations

UWB-AoA1: 20 Bluetooth AOA (open environment with 1200 square meters and 3M ceiling).

UWB-AoA2: the coverage radius of single base station is > 20m, and there is no requirement for installation height.

Bluetooth AOA: the coverage radius of single base station is 1 ~ 2 times of the installation height.

3. Comparison of cost and trend
Samsung, Xiaomi, Apple, oppo, vivo and Google have released or will release a large number of mobile phones and consumer electronics products integrating UWB. The market trend of UWB is taking shape. As UWB enters the mobile phone ecosystem, many domestic and foreign start-ups are drastically reducing the cost of UWB chips and gradually reaching the price of Bluetooth chips. The cost and popularization advantages of Bluetooth relative to UWB are being lost, and the physical performance limitations of Bluetooth relative to UWB will become more prominent.

Feasycom focus on beacon technology since 2017, we are working on UWB/Bluetooth AoA Beacon. We release Feasy Cloud recently, and aim to provide end-to-end solution. If you have any inquiry, please free to contact Feasycom.