Noncoherent Ultra-Wideband Systems: An Overview of Recent Research Activities


Klaus Witrisal, Geert Leus, Gerald J. M. Janssen, Marco Pausini, Florian Trösch, Thomas Zasowski, and Jac Romme


IEEE Signal Processing Magazine, July 2009.

DOI: 10.1109/MSP.2009.932617

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The need for low-complexity devices with low-power consumption motivates the application of suboptimal noncoherent ultra-wideband (UWB) receivers. This article provides an overview of the state of the art of recent research activities in this field. It introduces energy detection and autocorrelation receiver front ends with a focus on architectures that perform the initial signal processing tasks in the analog domain, such that the receiver does not need to sample the UWB received signals at Nyquist rate. Common signaling and multiple access schemes are reviewed for both front ends. An elaborate section illustrates various performance tradeoffs to highlight preferred system choices. Practical issues are discussed, including, for low-data-rate schemes, the allowed power allocation per pulse according to the regulator's ruling and the estimated power consumption of a receiver chip. A large part is devoted to signal processing steps needed in a digital receiver. It starts with synchronization and time-of-arrival estimation schemes, introduces studies about the narrowband interference problem, and describes solutions for high-data-rate and multiple access communications. Drastic advantages concerning complexity and robustness justify the application of noncoherent UWB systems, particularly for low-data-rate systems.


Non-coherent, UWB, impulse radio, energy detector, transmitted reference, low power

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