Accuracy Bounds for Array-Based Positioning in Dense Multipath Channels

Thomas Wilding, Stefan Josef Grebien, Ulrich Mühlmann, Klaus Witrisal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The accuracy of radio-based positioning systems will be limited by multipath interference in realistic application scenarios. This paper derives closed-form expressions for the Cramér–Rao lower bound (CRLB) on the achievable time-of-arrival (ToA) and angle-of-arrival (AoA) estimation-error variances, considering the presence of multipath radio channels, and extends these results to position estimation. The derivations are based on channel models comprising deterministic, specular multipath components as well as stochastic, diffuse/dense multipath. The derived CRLBs thus allow an evaluation of the influence of channel parameters, the geometric configuration of the environment, and system parameters such as signal bandwidth and array geometry. Our results quantify how the ToA and AoA accuracies decrease when the signal bandwidth is reduced, because more multipath will then interfere with the useful LoS component. Antenna arrays can (partly) compensate this performance loss, exploiting diversity among the multipath interference. For example, the AoA accuracy with a 16-element linear array at 1MHz bandwidth is similar to a two-element array at 1GHz, in the magnitude order of one degree. The ToA accuracy, on the other hand, still scales by a factor of 100 from the cm-regime to the m-regime because of the dominating influence of the signal bandwidth. The position error bound shows the relationship between the range and angle information under realistic indoor channel conditions and their different scaling behaviors as a function of the anchor–agent placement. Specular multipath components have a maximum detrimental influence near the walls. It is shown for an L-shaped room that a fairly even distribution of the position error bound can be achieved throughout the environment, using two anchors equipped with 2×2-array antennas. The accuracy limit due to multipath increases from the 1–10-cm-range at 1GHz bandwidth to the 0.5–1-m-range at 100MHz.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4249
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018


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