Wireless Positioning Systems: Operation, Application, and Comparison

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering


Positioning systems determine the location of a person or an object either relative to a known position or within a coordinate system. In the last few decades, various positioning systems have been motivated by demand and have been developed. This chapter provides an overview of the main positioning techniques: time of arrival (TOA), direction of arrival (DOA), and received signal strength indicator (RSSI). It then introduces positioning systems that are either in use or being developed for a variety of applications. The chapter summarizes operations of these positioning systems using flowcharts and figures. In addition, it compares positioning systems on the basis of system characteristics and performance parameters such as accuracy, capability in line-of-sight (LOS) versus non-line-of-sight (NLOS) positioning, number of base stations required for positioning, and power consumption. The chapter concludes by reviewing a number of emerging positioning systems and outlining some future applications.

Publication Title

Handbook of Position Location: Theory, Practice, and Advances