At present, 80% – 90% of the data business occurs indoors. With more and more b-end industry application scenarios, higher requirements are put forward for the accuracy of indoor positioning. Traditional indoor positioning technology is limited by the factors of coverage, accuracy, energy consumption, cost and so on. However, satellite positioning can not penetrate the building, and people or objects are often “unable to find the north” indoors ”。

5g opens the “door of opportunity” for indoor positioning, and will shift from outdoor macro coverage to indoor deep coverage. Because of its in band positioning capability, it can meet the needs of communication, data transmission, positioning and other aspects at the same time. It can also integrate with a number of positioning technologies to achieve the overall improvement of positioning accuracy and coverage. It can be said that 5g communication technology will solve many problems of indoor positioning.

Why do you get lost indoors?

In the outdoor, we get relatively accurate location information based on the communication between mobile terminal and satellite positioning. In the indoor, satellite positioning is not so “smart”, satellite positioning technology can not penetrate the walls of buildings, can not establish stable low delay positioning information, also can not distinguish the floor, so indoor and outdoor are two different positioning systems.

What is the value of 5g in positioning system?

In order to get their own location information indoors, service providers deploy relay base stations or indoor location facilities. Through Bluetooth, WiFi and other hardware as well as slam, UWB and other technologies, they collect data such as time difference of arrival and angle of arrival, and estimate location information with more than three base stations.

It is understood that according to the different signals used, the current mainstream indoor positioning technologies mainly include Bluetooth positioning, WiFi and UWB (ultra wideband positioning), each of which has its own advantages and disadvantages.

Bluetooth positioning is the most commonly used, with the accuracy of meter level and low energy consumption, but the positioning range is small, so it is necessary to build a separate Bluetooth positioning network and install a special program to report data; WiFi covers a wide range, but WiFi signal is vulnerable to interference, so it is necessary to build a separate WiFi Positioning network; The positioning accuracy of UWB can reach decimeter pole, with strong penetration and low power consumption, but the price of UWB equipment is high, so it needs separate network and terminal for positioning, which is not easy to promote.

“These existing indoor positioning technologies are relatively mature, but not every building can deploy these positioning facilities due to the high complexity of indoor scenes, more personalized application requirements and high deployment and maintenance costs.

In addition, the indoor scene is updated quickly, and the existing positioning technology seems unable to balance the positioning accuracy and commercial cost. ” Ding Haiyu, director of wireless and terminal Technology Research Institute of China Mobile Research Institute, pointed out.

It can be said that indoor positioning technology has not made a breakthrough in recent years.

What is the value of 5g in positioning system?

For indoor coverage business and industry vertical application development, indoor accurate positioning is a strong demand. Li Fuchang, deputy director of Wireless Research Department of China Unicom Network Technology Research Institute, said in an interview with China electronic news that on the one hand, indoor positioning scene is oriented to C-terminal services, such as parking lot positioning, shopping guide business, cultural tour, etc., providing personnel navigation and route planning services. However, in the 5g era, indoor positioning is more oriented to b-end application scenarios, such as intelligent warehousing and logistics, factory resource interconnection, public prosecution and justice, power and energy, etc.

The gradual improvement of 5g communication infrastructure is an opportunity to solve the “confusion” of indoor positioning. So, what is the value of 5g in positioning system? How will indoor communication and positioning be combined?

Li Fuchang pointed out that in the era of 3G and 4G, operators have tried positioning based on wireless communication signals. Because 3G and 4G networks are mainly passive systems, they do not have the ability of indoor positioning. A small number of active cells have small bandwidth, small subcarrier spacing and positioning accuracy of more than 10 meters, so it is difficult to meet the requirements of indoor applications. In addition, there is no definition of location server and external application interface in 3G and 4G network architecture, so it is difficult to promote the application.

On the one hand, the advantage of 5g network lies in its larger bandwidth and subcarrier spacing, which improves the positioning accuracy of 5g indoor (the positioning accuracy of 3.5GHz band is about 5m, and the positioning accuracy of millimeter wave can reach 3m or higher). 5gr16 version enhances 5g base station positioning and introduces new functional entities and positioning technology. R16 defines an end-to-end positioning system framework, adds a positioning processing platform, provides application interface, and introduces RTT (round trip) positioning, which not only solves the problem of integrating with applications due to the limitation of network architecture in 4G era, but also realizes single station positioning by measuring the round trip time difference.

Li Fuchang also pointed out that in the ongoing 5gr17 version, the industry has put forward the goal of further enhancing the positioning ability – for the scene of industrial Internet (iiot), the horizontal positioning accuracy target is 0.5m, and the vertical positioning accuracy target is 1m; for the general commercial scene, the positioning accuracy target is 1m horizontally and 3M vertically. The end-to-end positioning delay is within 100ms.

These capabilities enable 5g positioning to meet the positioning application requirements of most scenarios.

Compared with other positioning technologies, where 5g network has been built, it has the ability of high-precision positioning. There is no need to build a separate positioning network, and there is no need for specific terminals or tags. The combination of 5g with cloud computing, big data, AI and mec can also bring more rich network applications.

5g will be integrated with different technologies

5g era brings the demand of Internet of all things, which will greatly promote the market demand of indoor positioning. Indoor positioning is a complete system, including terminal, network, platform, application and other parts. The network layer is the network of all kinds of positioning base stations, which can be 5g positioning, Bluetooth, WiFi, ultra wideband and other positioning networks, as well as the integration of these technologies. In Ding Haiyu’s opinion, 5g itself can provide the ability to meet most scene positioning applications, but this ability can not solve all the positioning problems, and 5g needs to integrate with different technologies.

Li Fuchang said that in indoor positioning, 5g not only provides its own in band positioning ability, but also provides integrated positioning ability. Through slam, Bluetooth, UWB and other technologies and positioning terminal information, 5g can carry out integrated positioning, complement each other’s advantages, reduce integrated positioning cost, and improve positioning accuracy and robustness.

According to Ding Haiyu, the integrated application business based on location-based services has initially developed, including automobile assembly using 5g + Bluetooth positioning to meet its production positioning needs, electric energy using 5g + UWB positioning to meet the production needs; in the airport indoor positioning service, using 5g + Bluetooth positioning to meet the needs of consumers’ navigation and managers; In the warehouse logistics scene, 5g + Bluetooth AOA positioning is used to meet the intelligent logistics management.

In October this year, China Mobile, ZTE and other manufacturers jointly released the white paper on 5g indoor integration positioning (hereinafter referred to as the white paper). The white paper points out that new technologies, new formats and new applications are often accompanied by new challenges, including the need to enrich and mature the external interfaces of 5g small base stations, the lack of popularization of indoor maps, the privacy protection of indoor location information and personal data, and the convergence of indoor and outdoor positioning.

According to Li Xiaotong, vice general manager of wireless products of ZTE, if we want to overcome these challenges as soon as possible, we need to cut in from the network layer of indoor positioning to realize the overall layout of the end-to-end industrial chain. From the perspective of terminal, we need to promote the application of r165g chip and Bluetooth 5.2 chip as soon as possible, and promote the standardization and interconnection of UWB chip; from the perspective of platform, location information providers need to speed up the construction of layout indoor map and other basic services; From the application level, we should also attract more developers to integrate into the indoor positioning ecosystem, enrich the application forms of the system, and form a unified application solution.

Editor in charge: Tzh

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