So what is UWB RTLS?
UWB or Ultra Wide Band is a radio technology. Transmited signals are represented by short impulses. UWB radio frequency range spectrum ranges from 3.1 to 10.6GHz. This range doesn’t let UWB signal to interfere with other, more commonly used by phones and routers conventional frequencies. Like any other radio signal, UWB requers a line of sight(LOS) in order to provide proper accuracy. At the same time it does not require visual contact with an object. In case of indirect LOS, accuracy would be affected in proportion of the path signal has to travel between two points in comparisson to direct path.
In order for UWB system to operate, special tag has to be installed on each object being tracked and several anchors has to be installed in area in which object moves. Because of short messages communication, UWB requires very little enegry to operate. With low update rate, two regular AA batteries allow UWB module to operate for years. In case of high update rate, UWB module will have to send way more messages, hence – consume way more energy. Based on application, sometimes it makes sense to power up RTLS system by cables within the working area.
Tag and anchor size also varies depending on implementation. The smallest tag can be size of a conventional USB flash drive. Standart ones are size of a hard drive. The main differences are battery life span, additional accelerometers, barometers and etc. Some systems can be integrated with pulsometers, wifi and additional features, based on application.
TOPO rtls requires minimum to none preparation in most of the applications. Small system of up to 50 tags/anchors can be installed in just an hour. Major ones, where over 20000 tags/anchors are required, might take up to a month to set up. System has user friendly GUI(graphical user interface), that can be adjusted for special needs. Simple systems of 2D positioning require as minimum as 2 anchors and 1 tag to operate, whereas 3D system requires at least 3 anchors and 1 tag to operate.
UWB system has some major advantages over camera based systems. Weather conditions, dust or smoke won’t affect accuracy much. It even works when objects are separated by a wall. In this case accuracy suffers from distortions, but still one meter accuracy can be archived(depends on situation).