An holistic approach to optimal ultra-wideband wireless communications system design
Ultra-wideband (UWB) wireless systems rely on signals spanning very wide bandwidths, typically several gigahertz, for information transmission. The distinguishing feature of UWB communications technology is the unrivalled data-rates it provides, with other benefits such as fade resistance and spectral reusability. These characteristics render UWB the technology of choice for a gamut of modern wireless communications applications, including multimedia transmission, personal- and body-area networks, imaging devices, and sensor networks. The use of wide bandwidth signals, however, leads to many complications that necessitate specialised design considerations. The propagation channel and system components acquire frequency-selective characteristics, and their nonlinear and dispersive nature, usually innocuous in a conventional setting, causes signal distortion and erroneous detection. This thesis analyses various aspects of the indoor channel and the distortion to a UWB signal propagating through it. The performance of transmitter and receiver sub-systems is evaluated, with an emphasis on the challenges posed by the large operating bandwidth. The significance of incorporating this knowledge into the system design process is demonstrated, and a novel framework for optimising the performance-complexity tradeoff is presented. • The following are the contributions of this thesis to the state of the art in UWB communications. • Experimental characterisation of the indoor UWB channel spanning the FCC band (3.1-10.6 GHz) • Demonstration of the variability of propagation characteristics in the spectral sub-bands • Assessment of frequency-dependent pathless and the consequent signal waveform distortion • Polarimetric analysis of the temporal, spectral and angular channel evolution • Evaluation of rake receiver performance and its dependence on various channel conditions • Investigation of the effect of antenna angular-spectral distortion on signal propagation • A technique for the normalisation of UWB link aberration due to antennas • Performance evaluation of diversity and spatial multiplexing with multiple-antenna systems • Design of gigabit wireless links for high data-rate applications or high user density scenarios • A novel holistic framework for the design of an optimal UWB communications system.