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Accurate positioning and distributed time synchronization for short-range personal area networks (PAN) are expected to boost the impact of mobile wireless systems in a variety of applications. At the moment, wireless ranging and time synchronization are often addressed independently. The two main underlying reasons are: 1) the different accuracy requirements for time-of-arrival measurements and local clock correction and 2) the intrinsic difficulty to timestamp the received radio frames with uncertainty lower than some nanoseconds due to the joint effect of clock resolution, wideband noise, clock frequency offsets, and multipath propagation. Of course, if the influence of such phenomena were minimized, time synchronization could benefit from accurate one-way ranging and vice versa. One of the most recent and promising communication schemes to reach this goal is chirp spread spectrum (CSS) modulation. Indeed, this is also one of the alternative physical (PHY) layers for PANs recommended in the amendment IEEE 802.15.4a-2007, recently included in the standard IEEE 802.15.4-2011. In this paper, the features of IEEE 802.15.4a CSS signals for low-level timestamping are analyzed both theoretically and through simulations under the effect of various uncertainty contributions. Accordingly, an effective solution for frame timestamping at the symbol level is proposed. Some experimental results based on a software defined radio implementation of the IEEE 802.15.4a PHY layer confirm that CSS can be successfully adopted both for time synchronization and ranging.