Gartner Research

The Technology and Application of WLAN Location Services

Published: 29 August 2013

ID: G00248110

Analyst(s): Jim Berenbaum


The growth of WLANs provides a foundation for the simplified addition of real-time location services that offer significant benefits to businesses such as enhanced productivity and loss prevention. With the growth of mobility, even common smartphones can be tracked, thus enabling customer analytics.

Table Of Contents

Summary of Findings


  • Location-Enabled Business
  • Network Infrastructure vs. Mobile Device
    • Infrastructure-Aware
    • Device-Aware
    • Hybrid Approaches
    • Our Focus: Infrastructure-Aware Solutions
  • Why to Use Wi-Fi-Based RTLSs
  • Privacy Considerations
  • Integration Into the WLAN Infrastructure
  • Accuracy
    • Accuracy Enhancement
  • Common Devices vs. Tags
  • Enhancements Beyond Location
    • Entry/Exit Alert (Chokepoints)
    • Telemetry
    • Motion Activation
    • User Input/Output
  • Wi-Fi Bands and Channels
  • Modes of Operation: Associated/Unassociated
  • SSID Selection
  • Power and Battery Life
  • Combining Location Data With Other Information
  • Strengths
  • Weaknesses

The Details

  • WLAN Location Technology
    • Location Technology Options
    • How Wi-Fi Geolocation Works
  • WLAN RTLS Components
    • Location-Aware Application
    • Location Processing
    • WLAN Infrastructure
    • Tracked Devices
    • Triggers
  • Additional WLAN RTLS Capabilities
    • Transmitting Data (Telemetry)
    • Motion Activation
    • User Input/Output
  • Tracking Modes
  • Special Situations
    • High Ceilings
    • Hazardous Environments

Recommended Reading

©2020 Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates. All rights reserved. Gartner is a registered trademark of Gartner, Inc. and its affiliates. This publication may not be reproduced or distributed in any form without Gartner’s prior written permission. It consists of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization, which should not be construed as statements of fact. While the information contained in this publication has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, Gartner disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, completeness or adequacy of such information. Although Gartner research may address legal and financial issues, Gartner does not provide legal or investment advice and its research should not be construed or used as such. Your access and use of this publication are governed by Gartner’s Usage Policy. Gartner prides itself on its reputation for independence and objectivity. Its research is produced independently by its research organization without input or influence from any third party. For further information, see Guiding Principles on Independence and Objectivity.

Already have a Gartner Account?

Become a client

Learn how to access this content as a Gartner client.