Can I Set the Maximum Distance that the Beacon Transmits?

We get many questions along the lines of setting the distance a beacon can transmit. This might be to save battery power or to limit the distance at which a beacon can be detected.

Despite some 3rd party platforms and SDKs having settings to set distance, having such a setting is misleading. You can’t set the distance. You can set the transmitted power that affects the transmitted distance. However, as it’s radio and is susceptible to reflections and interference, there’s no way that a particular power can accurately correspond to a particular distance.

If you are detecting beacons in an app you can also use the Received Signal Strength Indicator (RSSI) to filter only those within a particular range. However, again, there’s no way to accurately map RSSI to the actual distance.

Some people ask if it’s possible to set the distance to the order of cm rather than m, much like NFC. This usually isn’t possible as most beacons still transmit of the order of m when set to the minimum power. However, an exception to this is the Sensoro range that have two antennas that provide for what they call micro location. Their app allows you to choose between 12 power levels, the lowest of which indicates a 5cm range. However, as mentioned above, as it’s radio, such things can’t be determined accurately and our tests reported a 10cm range.

We have an article on Choosing the Transmitted Power.