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Multi-channel ranging system for the localization of wireless connected objects in low power wide aea networks : From modeling to field trials

Abstract : The Internet of Things (IoT) is an enabler to new applications, such as smart metering and environmental monitoring, intended to address current and future societal and ecological challenges. Things, possibly mobile or in distant locations, require wireless connectivity for data collection and remote control. Low Power Wide Area (LPWA) networks provide city-scale long-range, narrowband radio transmissions respecting the energy constraints of battery-powered low-cost objects. Being capable to localize these objects will add value to their data, enables tracking applications and is therefore a demanded and recent research topic. Precise and accurate radio signal delay based positioning without integrating additional hardware but taking advantage of intrinsic wireless communication signals is appealing in terms of device complexity, cost and energy consumption. However, radio localization within LPWA networks is challenging due to narrowband transmissions, resulting in a lack of delay precision as well as due to radio propagation channels, which degrade the accuracy of location estimates. This work addresses both challenges by investigating a multi-channel ranging system for LPWA networks. Coherently combining multiple sequentially transmitted narrowband signals on different radio channels improves delay estimation precision and allows resolving multipath channels for refined positioning accuracy. This scheme, based on instantaneous narrowband signals, conserves the LPWA long-range feature and is hence compatible with LPWA networks. A detailed signal model considering hardware imperfections as well as the required protocol exchanges for time, frequency and phase synchronization is developed. Based on this model, the requirements on radio transceiver architectures regarding the necessary phase coherence for multi-channel ranging are discussed. Lower bounds on the ranging precision are derived for both, free-space and multipath propagation channels, illustrating the improved precision compared to narrowband single channel ranging. Numerical simulations of radio signals for the two-way multi-channel ranging protocol illustrate that the performance of developed range estimators attains the theoretical precision bound and pave the way towards implementation. A flexible Software Defined Radio (SDR) based demonstrator is implemented to validate simulation results. Field trials in real urban outdoor environments are in accordance with simulation results and prove how scalable multi-channel ranging, in combination with advanced signal processing methods, will be an enabler towards precise and accurate localization in LPWA networks.
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Florian Wolf. Multi-channel ranging system for the localization of wireless connected objects in low power wide aea networks : From modeling to field trials. Signal and Image processing. Université de Limoges, 2020. English. ⟨NNT : 2020LIMO0017⟩. ⟨tel-02926469⟩

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