Beacons broadcast 2.4 GHz radio waves that are susceptible to environmental factors. Antenna orientation, interference, human bodies, metal obstacles: all of these can reduce signal range and stability. Take them into account when deploying beacons.
Below we share some of the best practices for beacon placement, settings, and avoiding interference. We’ve also covered them in more detail on our blog: read the UX for the real world post. However, it’s always best to test and experiment yourself to achieve the best results.
Beacon placement and orientation
Try to create a line of sight between a beacon and user’s phones. The easiest way to achieve that is to place beacons above crowds and objects. Our data science team has been experimenting with different orientation and determined that the most effective placement for optimal signal propagation is vertical, with the little dot facing upwards (like in the picture below). Installing beacons on ceilings also works well.
Obstacles and interference
A signal can also be blocked and absorbed by obstacles. Metal and water will have the strongest effect, significantly reducing beacon’s range. Remember that human body is made of water: that’s why it’s so important to place beacons properly when deploying in crowded places.
Below are some common material types and their interference potential.
- Low interference potential: wood, synthetic materials, and glass
- Medium interference potential: bricks and marble
- High interference potential: plaster, concrete, and bulletproof glass
- Very high interference potential: metal, water
Please refer to the Potential sources of wireless interference article for more details.