Open Access

A Comprehensive Evaluation of Joint Range and Angle Estimation in Indoor Ultrawideband Location Systems

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20082008:248509

DOI: 10.1155/2008/248509

Received: 17 December 2007

Accepted: 18 September 2008

Published: 14 December 2008


Fine time resolution enables ultrawideband (UWB) ranging systems to extract the first multipath arrival corresponding to the range between a transmitter and receiver, even when attenuated in strength compared to later arrivals. Bearing systems alone lack any notion of time and in general select the strongest arrival which is rarely the first one in nonline-of-sight conditions. Complementing UWB ranging systems with bearing capabilities allows indexing the arrivals as a function of both time and angle in order to isolate the first, providing precision range and angle. However, that precision degrades with the increasing presence of walls and other objects which distort the properties of the first arrival. In order to gauge the physical limits of the joint UWB system, we design and assemble a spatial-temporal channel sounder using a vector network analyzer coupled to a virtual antenna array, and conduct 200 experiments to measure the time- and angle-of-flight. The experiments are carried out in both line-of-sight and nonline-of-sight conditions up to an unprecedented 45 meters throughout four separate buildings with dominant wall material varying from sheet rock to steel. In addition, we report performance for varying bandwidth and center frequency of the system. We find that operating at a bandwidth of 4 GHz suffices in resolving multipath in most buildings and in excess shows virtually no improvement. While the range error decreases at lower center frequencies, the higher frequencies offer better angular resolution and so smaller angle error.

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Authors’ Affiliations

Wireless Communication Technologies Group, National Institute of Standards and Technology


© Camillo Gentile et al. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. 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.