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Journal of Electrical and Computer Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 218930, 9 pages
Research Article

Ranging Performance of the IEEE 802.15.4a UWB Standard under FCC/CEPT Regulations

1Signal Processing and Speech Communication Laboratory, Graz University of Technology 8010 Graz, Austria
2Communication Technology Laboratory, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH), 8092 Zurich, Switzerland
3CISC Semiconductor, Design and Consulting GmbH, 9020 Klagenfurt, Austria

Received 25 October 2011; Accepted 29 January 2012

Academic Editor: Hsien-Chin Chiu

Copyright © 2012 Thomas Gigl et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The IEEE 802.15.4a standard for wireless sensor networks is designed for high-accuracy ranging using ultra-wideband (UWB) signals. It supports coherent and noncoherent (energy detector) receivers, thus the performance-complexity-tradeoff can be decided by the implementer. In this paper, the maximum operating range and the maximum allowed pathloss are analyzed for ranging and both receiver types, under FCC/CEPT regulations. The analysis is based on the receiver working points and a link budget calculation assuming a frees-pace pathloss model. It takes into consideration the parameters of the preamble, which influence the transmit power allowed by the regulators. The best performance is achieved with the code sequences having the longest pulse spacing. Coherent receivers can achieve a maximum operating range up to several thousand meters and energy detectors up to several hundred meters.