The Development of Long Range Proximity Beacons

Proximity beacons are small, wireless transmitters which are based on low-energy Bluetooth technology. They can send signals and notifications to the nearby smart devices. Proximity beacons are the latest development in proximity marketing and location technology. They can connect to smart devices and transmit the information which makes it easier for users to easily search and interact with the offerings. Conventionally, proximity beacons have a short range which limits their functionality. However, with the development of Long Range Proximity Beacons, we can now address most of the modern needs.

Limitations of Short Range Proximity Beacons

Short Range proximity beacons have some limitations which are overcome by the long range proximity beacons. Before further diving into the long range proximity beacon, let us take a look at the limitations of short range proximity beacons. This will help us understand why we need long range proximity beacon.

  1. Large number needed

Short range proximity beacons have a limited range. Therefore, they are unable to detect activity at large distances. Hence, we have to use a large number of short range proximity beacons if we want to cover large areas such as an entire football stadium. When we use more short range proximity beacons, we need more cloud servers. This leads to a need for more supporting equipment and personnel.

  1. Cost ineffectiveness

Since we need to use them in large numbers and more equipment and staff is required hence, the overall costs tend to increase. If you are on a limited budget or if your business hasn’t reached the turnover phase yet then it is not recommended to use short range proximity beacons for mass deployments.

  1. Maintenance and repairs

Since short range proximity beacons are often deployed in large numbers hence their maintenance is often difficult. This is because it is hard to find unresponsive or faulty proximity beacons since they are small in size and we can not maintain their individual deployment records.

  1. Aesthetics

We often like to use proximity beacons in a discreet manner. Therefore, we like to paint them so that they blend in with the environment. However, short range proximity beacons are deployed in large numbers. Therefore, it is difficult to paint and customize all of them as it requires considerable time. On top of that, if the paint corrodes during the deployment then repair is even more difficult.

This shows that there is a need for developing long range proximity beacon which can effective cover large areas and are more cost effective.

Now we will take a look at the development of long range proximity beacon.

Development of long range proximity beacons

There are certain restrictions on the antenna size of proximity beacons and their configuration during the deployment. So, if we want to increase the range of the proximity beacons then the only option is to increase their power.

Until recently, if we wanted to increase the power for proximity beacons then we had to design customized power gain stages for the wider range of Bluetooth transceivers. However, this leads to a lot of problems such as noise. However, we now have RF Front End Modules (FEMs) as an alternative which makes our job much easier.

FEMs usually have a low noise amplifier (LNA), a power amplifier (PA) and sometimes both. This allows for optimization to increase receiver radio sensitivity or transmitter power output without increasing the complexity of the system design.

If we want to increase the range of a Bluetooth transceiver or transmitter then we have to simply connect the RF I/O port of the Bluetooth device to the input of FEM. However, we also have to add a minimum number of passive components.

Another helpful technique for increasing the range of a BLE device is to use the Cypress Semiconductor CYBLE-202007-01 BLE module. It is a single package solution for increasing the range of proximity beacons.

We can easily manufacture long range proximity beacon by using these techniques. Once the beacons are developed we have to check their performance by subjecting them to certain tests.

Testing of Long Range Proximity Beacon

If we want to test the performance of our long range proximity beacon then we have to separately test their remote tracking and detection capabilities.

Testing for remote tracking

This test will tell you if you are able to track a proximity beacon that is moving inside the specified area.

Prerequisites

You will need,

  • 6 long range proximity beacons
  • A reference system for the test area
  • A central server
  • A computer with internet connectivity

Steps

  • Setup all 6 of the long-range proximity beacons
  • Turn on only the proximity beacon of interest
  • Add this beacon to the list of known devices by using your computer
  • Use the dedicated interface for tracking the proximity beacon
  • If your dedicated interface shows a dot or if your proximity beacon blinks then you are able to track it.
  • You can take this further by asking a colleague to walk around the venue and carry the proximity beacon with him/her.
  • If you can see their movements on the floor map then your remote-tracking is working just fine.

Testing for detection of a beacon

This test will tell you about the detection capabilities of your long range proximity beacon.

Prerequisites:

You will need,

  • 1 long range proximity beacon
  • A reference system for the test area
  • A computer with internet connectivity
  • A smartphone

Steps

  • Setup the proximity beacon.
  • Access the dedicated interface.
  • Turn on the proximity beacon.
  • Add the long range proximity beacon to the list of identified devices.
  • Use the dedicated interface to send instructions to the proximity beacon.
  • Now walk around the beacon with your smartphone in your hand.
  • If the proximity beacon blinks or sends your smartphone the specified instructions then its detection is working fine.

If you are thinking about deploying long range proximity beacon for your business but can’t find a reliable vendor then you needn’t worry. MOKO Smart is here to help you out. We specialize in BLE technology and manufacturing long range proximity beacon. We have a technologically advanced setup with mass production capacity. Feel free to reach out to us for inquiring about a quote or asking any questions.