Discrete fourier transform-based TOA estimation in UWB systems

Research paper by Achraf Mallat, Jérôme Louveaux, Luc Vandendorpe, Mario Di Dio, Marco Luise

Indexed on: 09 Jan '12Published on: 09 Jan '12Published in: EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking


In this paper, we propose two time of arrival estimators for ultra wideband signals based on the phase difference between the discrete Fourier transforms (DFT) of the transmitted and received signals. The first estimator is based on the slope of the unwrapped phase and the second one on the absolute unwrapped phase. We derive the statistics of the unwrapped phase. We show that slope-based estimation almost achieves asymptotically the baseband Cramer-Rao lower bound (CRLB), while the absolute-phase-based estimator achieves asymptotically the passband CRLB. We compare the proposed estimators to the time-domain maximum likelihood estimator (MLE). We show that the MLE achieves the CRLB faster than the DFT-based estimator, while the DFT-based estimator outperforms the MLE for low signal to noise ratios. We describe also how to use the proposed estimators in multipath UWB channels.