Anchor-free backscatter positioning for RFID tags with high accuracy

Tianci Liu, Lei Yang, Qiongzheng Lin, Yi Guo, Yunhao Liu

Research output: Chapter in book / Conference proceedingConference article published in proceeding or bookAcademic researchpeer-review

169 Citations (Scopus)


RFID technology has been widely adopted in a variety of applications from logistics to access control. Many applications gain benefits from knowing the exact position of an RFID-tagged object. Existing localization algorithms in wireless network, however, can hardly be directly employed due to tag's limited capabilities in terms of energy and memory. For example, the RSS based methods are vulnerable to both distance and tag orientation, while AOA based methods put a strict constraint on the antennas' spacing that reader's directional antennas are too large to meet. In this paper, we propose BackPos, a fine-grained backscatter positioning technique using the COTS RFID products with detected phase. Our study shows that the phase is indeed a stable indicator highly related to tag's position and preserved over frequency or tag orientation, but challenged by its periodicity and tag's diversity. We attempt to infer the distance differences from phases detected by antennas under triangle constraint. Further, hyperbolic positioning using the distance differences is employed to shrink the tag's candidate positions until filtering out the real one. In combination with interrogation zone, we finally relax the triangle constraint and allow arbitrary deployment of antennas by sacrificing the feasible region. We implement a prototype of BackPos with COTS RFID products and evaluate this design in various scenarios. The results show that BackPos achieves the mean accuracy of 12.8cm with variance of 3.8cm.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE INFOCOM 2014 - IEEE Conference on Computer Communications
Number of pages9
ISBN (Print)9781479933600
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes
Event33rd IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2014 - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: 27 Apr 20142 May 2014


Conference33rd IEEE Conference on Computer Communications, IEEE INFOCOM 2014
CityToronto, ON


  • BackPos
  • feasible region
  • hyperbolic positioning
  • RFID

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Computer Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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