Technology is constantly changing and evolving to enable more efficient operations. Particularly in the world of IoT (Internet of Things), solutions continually evolve – from how we drive cars, listen to music, and even keep track of our stuff.  When thinking about IoT connectivity solutions such as Bluetooth, there has been a steady progression of technological advancement.

In recent years, classic Bluetooth has further advanced into what is known as Bluetooth Low Energy (LE).  Bluetooth LE remains in sleep mode until a system initiates a connection, allowing the technology to be very power efficient – a single battery can last up to five years depending on the use case.

In the realm of asset tracking and monitoring though, where the need to track an asset occurs multiple times a day, battery life is of the utmost importance.  That is why Link Labs created an even more advanced generation of industrial Bluetooth LE known as XLE®, short for Xtreme Low Energy, because of its ability for a single battery to last up to 7 years.  Let’s take a look at how Link Labs is fusing XLE® into its existing AirFinder Industrial OnSite solution.

So, how do Industrial Bluetooth LE and XLE® work for asset tracking?

Before we talk about XLE®, it is helpful to better understand Bluetooth. Bluetooth is a radio technology that transmits data within the 2.4 GHz band. However, if you know anything about the 2.4 GHz band, you know that many other technologies, such as Wi-Fi and ZigBee, used the same 2.4 GHz band. So how do Bluetooth devices avoid interference? The answer is short-range frequency hopping. Bluetooth operates within 80 different channels (number from 0 to 79, each 1 MHz wide) and changes channels up to 1600 times per second. Bluetooth devices detect other signals and negotiate a path for communication. 

IoT BLE vs. XLE for indoor asset tracking

When it comes to the AirFinder OnSite Bluetooth LE solution, Bluetooth LE beacons determine location by proximity, instead of phase ranging. When an active tag is within range, a nearby beacon can compute the signal strength and calculate the proximity. The only way to increase accuracy is to increase the density of beacons in the area. The precision is up to the closest beacon.

In contrast, AirFinder OnSite XLE® uses phase-ranging to determine location on x/y/z coordinates up to meter-level accuracy. Here is a breakdown of how it works.

  1. A Bluetooth LE asset tag sends a signal to any beacons within range
  2. Once a beacon receives a signal, it sends matching tones or frequencies back to that original tag. In other words, it is not about how much time it takes for that signal to travel back and forth; it is about the different phases of all returning frequencies
  3. When all the phases are collected, the system calculates the distance from the known location of that beacon
  4. Once the system has collected the known location from at least three beacons, it can triangulate the location of the tag
  5. The tag’s location data is sent to the AirFinder IoT platform for end-users to read and analyze the information in real time

Benefits of AirFinder XLE®

One of the biggest benefits of AirFinder XLE® is the level of precision.  Proximity-based systems require a location to be associated with a beacon and are accurate to the closest location beacon.  Industrial XLE®, on the other hand, can get to sub-meter accuracy in standard environments by using phase-ranging calculations.   

Here are some reasons to consider AirFinder’s Industrial XLE® Solution:

  • Wall-powered beacons won’t need battery replacements
  • Longer battery life for the tags (up to 5-7 years)
  • More accurate location reading 
  • Covers a larger area with fewer location beacons

Take the Next Step

From enhanced battery life to maintaining the same affordable solution, AirFinder OnSite XLE® is a clear choice for many companies. To see AirFinder OnSite XLE in action, book a demo today.

Philip Bender

Written by Philip Bender

Philip Bender is a data analytics leader with a specialty in data integration, business intelligence, and applied statistics. He has over 15+ years of experience with proven success in designing, building, and delivering syndicated and customized data analytics solutions to meet and exceed client needs within multiple industries. He has expertise in advising clients on complex and critical business issues such as understanding consumers, prioritizing market opportunities, and acquiring and retaining customers. Prior to Philip’s current role at Link Labs, he worked in various fields under roles such as Senior Analytics Consultant and Director of Analytics, Applied Statistics, and Product Innovation. Philip has an educational background in political science and mathematics, where he fulfilled his studies at the University of Notre Dame.

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