iBeacon station can keep broadcasting its bluetooth infomation, and is of low power consumption and able to communicate at far distance. iBeacon can be used for indoor position application, and can complement the situation where GPS cannot be used in indoor localization. It is certainly a hot topic recently.
Our iBeacon module has a communicaiton radius of 30 memeters, and uses the button battery 2032, and can last 4 months. It supports depoly mode, but NOT supports wireless firmware upgrade. For commercial application, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a model that has a communicaiton range of 60m, uses button battery 2450, and can last for one year. It supports deploy mode and wireless firmware upgrade in the field.
There are many misunderstanding floating around. Can the iBeacon module report its distance? Can the iBeacon nodule actively find a cellphone and push its information to the cellphone? The reality is that iBeacon module will not report its distance. It only keep broadcasting its information, and the cellphone uses APP to read the nearby iBeacon information, and use the signal strenght of these information to compute its distance to the iBeacon modules.
Each iBeacon module has different MAC address. So the cellphone can tell which is which by reading the MAC address. It can also read the UUID to tell the type of the module. The module keeps broadcasting in a predefined interval, and not controlled by any cellphone, and it will not push any data to the cellphone actively. The cellphone uses the MAC address and the distance to tell its own location, and download the service related information from a server.
After we get the new iBeacon module, install a button battery 2032. Please pay attention that the positive side of the battery should face outside. After we install the battery, the LED is off, that means the the iBeacon module is in the management state. We can use the APP on cellphone to connect to the iBeacon module to configure it. For iOS, we will use lightblue, that can be downloaded from the app store. When the cellphone is connected to the iBeacon, the LED will turn steady on, which means the iBeacon enters into the configuration state. After we are done, we issue a command to deploy, and iBeacon will enter into deploy state. After that, the cellphone can no longer connect to the iBeacon module. The iBeacon will broadcast its data. Only when we issue AT+DELO through the UART, or remove the battery and re-install the battery will force the iBeacon into the management state.
There are 4 approaches regarding the power saving:
1. Use AT+UART1 to turn on the serial port.
2. AT+ADVI to confgure a value between 0 and F. The smaller the value, the smaller the broadcast interval. The cellphone can read the data quicker, however, it's at the cost of a larger power consumption.
3. AT+POWE provides 4 TX powers: 0: -23dB, 1: -6bD, 2: 0dB, 3: 6dB.
4. AT+KEYS1: we can use this to disable the button interruption.
For distance measurement, please use Locate iBeacon in iOS. For Android, please use iBeacon Locate.
Many users report that the distance is not accurate. The iOS app locate iBeacon is calibrated with apple's iBeacon module. The signal strenght of our module is different from that of Apple's. The source code of the APP can be found at: https://github.com/volca/AirLocate. In cases, there are reports that ariLocate cannot find our module. There are two possible reasons: 1. The UUID bind with the APP is not the UUID of the device. 2. The interval configured in ariLocate is smaller than the broadcast interval. The default is 1S, we can configure a smaller broadcast interval of the module.