Robust Differential Received Signal Strength-Based Localization

Yongchang Hu*, Geert Leus

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Source localization based on signal strength measurements has become very popular due to its practical simplicity. However, the severe nonlinearity and non-convexity make the related optimization problem mathematically difficult to solve, especially when the transmit power or the path-loss exponent (PLE) is unknown. Moreover, even if the PLE is known but not perfectly estimated or the anchor location information is not accurate, the constructed data model will become uncertain, making the problem again hard to solve. This paper particularly focuses on differential received signal strength (DRSS)-based localization with model uncertainties in case of unknown transmit power and PLE. A new whitened model for DRSS-based localization with unknown transmit powers is first presented and investigated. When assuming the PLE is known, we introduce two estimators based on an exact data model, an advanced best linear unbiased estimator (A-BLUE) and a Lagrangian estimator (LE), and then we present a robust semidefinite programming (SDP)-based estimator (RSDPE), which can cope with model uncertainties (imperfect PLE and inaccurate anchor location information). The three proposed estimators have their own advantages from different perspectives: the A-BLUE has the lowest complexity; the LE holds the best accuracy for a small measurement noise; and the RSDPE yields the best performance under a large measurement noise and possesses a very good robustness against model uncertainties. Finally, we propose a robust SDP-based block coordinate descent estimator (RSDP-BCDE) to deal with a completely unknown PLE and its performance converges to that of the RSDPE using a perfectly known PLE.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7882674
Pages (from-to)3261-3276
Number of pages16
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017


  • block coordinate descent
  • convex optimization
  • differential received signal strength (DRSS)
  • Lagrangian multiplier
  • least squares
  • path-loss exponent (PLE)
  • semidefinite programming (SDP)
  • Source localization


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