Bluetooth vs UWB vs RFID for RTLS

In the past, before Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) was introduced in 2010, real time locating systems (RTLS) used costly Ultra Wide Band (UWB) devices or radio frequency id (RFID).

Bluetooth LE is increasing being used for RTLS due to:

  • the availability of much lower cost Bluetooth devices, up to 1/4 the price of UWB.
  • a much longer battery life than UWB, 5+ years for some devices.
  • a much longer range than RFID, up to 300m vs cm.
  • the ease of detecting beacons via apps and single board computers using existing operating system Bluetooth APIs
  • the availability of low cost Bluetooth gateways
  • being based on standard Bluetooth rather than proprietary UWB protocols, custom devices and specialist skills

Read more about Beacons and Real Time Locating Systems (RTLS)