Radius Networks

How do I use ScanBeacon?

Using ScanBeacon

With the ScanBeacon app you can scan for nearby proximity beacons and display their advertising details using any Macintosh computer running OS X® 10.9 or higher and equipped with built-in or third party Bluetooth 4.0 support.

In the ScanBeacon application window, start scanning for beacons by clicking the ‘Start Scanning’ button. ScanBeacon will display a list of the detected beacons and their advertising details, as shown in the figure below. ScanBeacon will continuously update the list at 1 second intervals while it is actively scanning. Beacons that have not transmitted an advertisement for at least 10 seconds are removed from the displayed list.

Clicking on the ‘Stop Scanning’ button will terminate the scanning process and leave a static display of the detected beacons that were in the list at the time that scanning was halted.

Beacon Advertising Details

The beacon list displays the detection status and the beacon details of detected beacons. The detail items for each listed beacon are defined as:

Active – This indicator displays the advertising status of the the listed beacon. This value is derived based on the elapsed time since the last received beacon advertisement. The indicator is GREEN when an advertisement has been received within the last 5 seconds. The indicator is GREY when more than 5 seconds has elapsed since the last received advertisement. If more than 10 seconds has elapsed since the last received beacon advertisement, the entry in the list is removed.

UUID – The UUID identifier transmitted by the beacon. UUID identifiers use hexadecimal values (0-9 or A-F) in the following format: 01234567-89AB-CDEF-0123-4567890ABCDE. UUID identifiers are expected to be unique to the organization that deployed the beacon.

Major – The group identifier that will be transmitted by the beacon. Group identifiers must be a decimal value between 0 and 65535.

Minor – The individual identifier that will be transmitted by the beacon. Individual identifiers must be a decimal value between 0 and 65535.

Power – The measured power value transmitted by the beacon. This value is set during beacon deployment and calibration. The value is intended to reflect the received signal strength indicator (RSSI) value (measured in decibels) for the device, and represents the measured strength of the beacon from one meter away during ranging.

RSSI – Relative Signal Strength Indication, this value is a measure of the power level of the signal being received by the scanner.

Distance – The distance of the scanning receiver to the beacon. This value is derived from the Power and RSSI values and is largely dependent on the accuracy of these two values.

Proximity – The proximity of the scanning receiver to the beacon. This is a qualitative value derived from the Distance calculation. In general, Proximity is evaluated as

  • Immediate – 0.0m to 0.5m
  • Near – 0.5m to 4.0m
  • Far – more than 4.0m


Sharing Beacon Scanning Results

Being able to copy and paste beacon advertisement information is very useful for quickly configuring other applications and for sharing scan result information with colleagues.

Beacon information can be copied and pasted to other applications by selecting an beacon in the list and pressing the CMD-C key combination, or selecting ‘Copy Advertisement’ under the Beacon menu item or from the CTRL-click accessible context menu in the application window.

Information copied to the clipboard as a textual representation and can be pasted into any application that will accept plain text. An example of the copied information is shown below.

  identifier = "E67DD696-409B-4B03-8156-1079926D7D31";
  major = 0;
  minor = 1;
  power = "-59";
  rssi = "-78";
  timestamp = "1386087720.724988";
  uuid = "74278BDA-B644-4520-8F0C-720EAF059935";

The complete results of a scan operation can be saved to a file which can be reloaded into any instance of the ScanBeacon application. Scan results are saved in JSON-encoded files with the .ibeacon extension.

To save the results of a scan operation, terminate any active scanning session and select ‘Save’ or ‘Save As...’ under the ‘File’ menu item. The .ibeacon file extension is added automatically to any filename that you specify.

To load previously saved results, terminate any active scanning session and select ‘Open...’ under the ‘File’ menu item and select the file to load. The advertising information from the loaded file will be displayed in the beacon list along with the derived distance and proximity values calculated based on the RSSI value at the time the information was saved.

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