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802.11 client location detector

Triangulate from several 802.11 access points to determine location of clients
  [vote for,

It would be cool to use several 802.11 access points on a wireless network (such as we use here where I work) to determine the location of clients. A quick Google search showed that others have had this idea before me though (see link). So, not strictly halfbaked except in as much as it hasn't actually been implemented.
Why do I want this though? (And here's the halfbaked bit) - When I try to connect to a printer (from my Windows2000 laptop), instead of giving me a huge list of printers about which I know nothing, the list should be sorted by proximity to my laptop's current location.
hippo, Jun 05 2001

Halibut, an Infrastructure for Wireless LAN Location-based Services http://fern2.stanford.edu/cs444n/
[hippo, Jun 05 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Advanced WaveLAN positioning http://www.cdt.luth...an_positioning.html
[hippo, Jun 05 2001, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Bluesoft positioning technologies http://www.halfbake...ww.bluesoft-inc.com
Bluesoft develops 802.11 and Bluetooth positioning technologies. [aberzins, Mar 18 2002, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Newbury Networks http://www.newburynetworks.com/
Their products do exactly what is described, including permitting/denying access based on position. [krelnik, Oct 01 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Cooltown http://www.cooltown...s/websigns-IEEE.pdf
[bristolz] Some researchers at HP are building exactly what you want. [krelnik, Oct 02 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Ekahau http://www.ekahau.com/
Another company that has baked this [krelnik, Oct 20 2002, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Bluesoft positioning technologies http://www.halfbake...ea/www.bluesoft-inc
Bluesoft develops 802.11 and Bluetooth positioning technologies. [aberzins, Oct 21 2004]


       Sounds good. Our intranet has a bewildering range of 10 character (or is it 11?) printer codes. Requires a great deal of hmming and hawwing to walk an intitiate through printing documents and leaves much of where documents are printed to chance. Simply because it's not intuitive. This would obviously be a huge service for wireless users, in battery life alone.
reensure, Jun 06 2001

       Rods: No kidding. I took to naming printers on my system by what / where they were, rather than what the network called them. "Over by Copier", '<cow-orker's name>'s desk', and for an enormous <3x3' cube> printer, the 'Giant Fat Bastard'.
StarChaser, Jun 08 2001

       Same here. The printers in my office are labelled: "LA1600CQ", "LA1600CQ2", "LARSS5P" & "DC265". While, these labels indicate the TYPE of printer, they give no indication of where they are.   

       Whatever, when I install the printers on computers at work, I rename them "Lobby", "Promo Room", "Fax" & "Copier".
iuvare, Jun 08 2001

       This could be used to trace 802.11 network hackers by logging physical locations for each and every node. This is now a concern more than ever, with the 802.11 encryption publicly broken!
white, Dec 07 2001

       While I'd debate whether or not I want my network tracking me down, Windows 2000 directory services provides 'printer location names' to assist with identifying just that.   

       [hippo] If your network people haven't fixed this for you by now, let me know and I'll come up there and kick their ass(es)/(ets).
phoenix, Dec 07 2001

       SC has it right, this problem is easily overcome by using printer names that unambiguously reference printer location.   

       As for position, or context, sensitivity . . . I'd like to see the ability to "pin" messages in mid-air. Messages "located" to a given spot so that, if you were wandering about with your WLAN-empowered PDA you might encounter a location-sensitive message that was left for you.   

       By the water cooler (tea-kettle) "I know you like tea, bristolz, but the hot-water dispenser on this rig isn't working, try floor 2. Love, Bill."
bristolz, Mar 19 2002

       That last part popped up in New Scientist a while back but for use with mobile phones and GPS. The idea being you may soon be able to 'pin' personal reviews in the air outside resturants, leave a note hovering if you have given up waiting for someone and gone home, or maybe you could build a zoo with no instructional panels, rather just intangible hanging notices that are picked up by your gizmos and gadgetry!
Zircon, Oct 02 2002

       While locating a printer is nice (and will happen eventually), the money is in enterprise applications. Think about locating scarce medical devices in hospitals, misplaced containers in ports, tracking shopping carts around supermarkets to improve layouts and so on. All of these applications have clear ROI. To do them, you need an enterprise class, reliable solution. For that, check out the Bluesoft link on this page.
aberzins, Mar 13 2003

       I like it. It would also be nice if windows itself showed weather or not a printer was available and put it at the top of the list.
ed68wood, Feb 08 2006


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