The Beacon

Benefits of Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Location™ in airports

December 19, 2018 by Christine Zhang

Accurate location determination provides several benefits to consumers and service providers alike. Location determination through Wi-Fi has advanced over time. Now, Wi-Fi service providers who use Wi-Fi CERTIFIED Location devices in their networks can provide accuracy to less than one meter. There are many environments that can benefit from location technology. Wi-Fi Location networks can provide benefits to both operators and passengers in even the largest, most complex airport environments.

Wi-Fi Location enables better navigation at the airport

With Wi-Fi Location access points (APs) and mobile devices such as phones, tablets, laptops and low-power IoT devices, passengers can enjoy accurate indoor navigation with better than 1-meter accuracy in an airport complex. Complete navigation services can be provided to passengers with Wi-Fi Location, for example:

  • For departure, navigate from the indoor parking spot or public transportation stop to the airline check-in point, to the security checkpoint, and then to the departure gate
  • For arrival, navigate from the gate to the baggage claim area, the exit gate, and then to the spot where the car was parked or to the public transportation stop

Such services not only reduce the time needed for passengers to find the destination, but also reduce the chance of delayed flights due to waiting for passengers who cannot find the correct gate on time.

Wi-Fi Location enables better retail services at the airport

Most airports have consumer and leisure services such as shopping malls, retail stores, restaurants and spas. Wi-Fi Location can provide better retail services to customers. Passengers can use Wi-Fi Location to find and navigate to the stores of interest. Wi-Fi Location also enables better retail solutions to business owners. Business owners can use Wi-Fi Location to find potential customers and send promotional coupons to passengers’ smartphones within vicinity. Customer shopping behavior such as walking routes, visitor traffic and distribution density can also be analyzed and used by business owners to optimize store layout and space rentals.

Wi-Fi Location enables better airport asset tracking

Airport assets such as wheelchairs and carts are often left everywhere after being used by passengers. Sometimes they are lost or even stolen. Wi-Fi Location can be used to track these assets. This not only reduces the chance of asset loss but also makes it faster to locate the closest wheelchairs and carts to provide faster service to passengers in need.

Wi-Fi Location enables more efficient airport operations

Wi-Fi Location provides airport operators with better management capability. Using Wi-Fi Location technology, airport administrators and operators can improve staffing, protect assets, and help secure private areas. It can be used to track the location of airline, security, and operations personnel in real-time and optimize resource allocation to provide fast response to incidents and passenger needs based on location information. Passenger density and movement speed can also be monitored to estimate wait times which can be used by passengers for trip planning and by airport operators for staff allocation.

Wi-Fi Location enables better car parking services at the airport

Finding a suitable parking spot can be tricky at the airport. Wi-Fi Location can be used to find the best parking spot based on departure flight (which terminal), trip duration (short-term parking or long-term parking), arrival flight (wait time for pickup), as well as parking availability. With car location information, getting back to your car after your flight is no longer a challenge. Airport operators can also use Wi-Fi Location to monitor parking lot loading and create additional parking when overloading happens.

The statements and opinions by each Wi-Fi Alliance member and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions or views of Wi-Fi Alliance or any other member. Wi-Fi Alliance is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information provided by any member in posting to or commenting on this blog. Concerns should be directed to

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Christine Zhang


Dr. Christine Zhang received her Ph.D. degree in Wireless Communications. She joined Qualcomm’s Wi‑Fi Systems team in 2011. She is now the systems lead and technical lead for multiple advanced Wi-Fi features at Qualcomm including Wi-Fi Location. She has nearly 200 filed US and international patents with over 60 granted, and 10 published journal and conference papers.