The term "beacon" is used in FDDI, token ring networks, RFID, ZigBee, Bluetooth and satellite transmission and means beacon in German, also known as Funkbake or Funkfeuer. In the context of the aforementioned terms, beacon stands for a highly stable radio frequency signal with low transmission power. The technology is used, among other things, for locating and tracking products and offers in stores.
- In RFID, a beacon is a programmed RFID tag that activates itself after a set time interval and transmits its information.
- In ZigBee, a beacon is a transmission mode. A distinction is made between beacon networks and non-beacon networks. In beacon networks, the network coordinator( PAN) sends a beacon at regular time intervals, via which the nodes are synchronized and identified and regularly send data. Non-beacon networks, on the other hand, only transmit on demand.
- In802.11WLANs, the term beacon is used for data packets that are sent out periodically by access points( AP) and serve to synchronize the WLAN.
- Beacon technology is also used in Bluetooth 5. It is a transmitter and a receiver with which the location of prospective customers in stores, their purchase and payment is supported. Beacon technology belongs to near- field communication, which is based on the energy-saving Bluetooth Low Energy( BLE). This offer technology is called proximity marketing. Customers can locate products and offers with prices in stores, add them to their shopping carts, and have the cost of the goods wirelessly debited from their accounts when they leave the store. Beacon stores are equipped with several BLE radio transmitters and use them to record the position at which the customer is currently located.
- Token Ring is a token ring frame that indicates a serious ring problem, such as a cable break. A Beacon frame is sent out only after all other troubleshooting procedures have failed.
- In addition, beacon technology can also be used for locating and tracking people in emergency situations and for location-based services. For example, this technology is used in satellite-based search and rescue services for people and ships in distress. Such search and rescue services are supported by dedicated satellites: LEOSAR and GEOSAR. In addition, navigation systems such as Galileo provide a special search and rescue service.