A Non-Coherent 802.15.4a UWB Impulse Radio

The new IEEE 802.15.4a standard for Wireless Personal Area Networks (WPAN) extends the capabilities of its popular predecessor IEEE 802.15.4, and enables accurate range/distance estimation between communicating devices. In addition to its ranging capabilities, the new standard also defines several new data rates ranging from 100 kb/s to 27Mb/s and a variety of options that give IEEE 802.15.4a compliant devices a high degree of flexibility and scalability. In this article we describe our implementation of an UWB impulse radio device, which is compliant with the 802.15.4a standard. Our implementation uses non-coherent energy-detection based receivers both to demodulate data and to detect ranges. We will present our prototype system and discuss some implementation details (energy detection, sampling rates, acquisition/synchronization) specific to non-coherent receivers. The performance of our prototype system is discussed as well. The reported range estimation error is less than 30cm, which agrees well with theoretical predictions.