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A general method for the evaluation of the symbol error probability (SER) of ultra wideband (UWB) systems with various kind of modulation schemes (N-PAM, M-PPM, Bi-Orthogonal), in presence of multipath channel, multiuser and strong narrowband interference, is presented. This method is shown to be able to include all the principal multiaccess techniques proposed so far for UWB, time hopping (TH), direct sequence (DS) and optical orthogonal codes (OOC). A comparison between the performance of these multiple access and modulation techniques is given, for both ideal Rake receiver and minimum mean square error (MMSE) equalizer. It is shown that for all the analyzed multiple access schemes, a Rake receiver exhibits a high error floor in presence of narrowband interference (NBI) and that the value of the error floor is influenced by the spectral characteristics of the spreading code. As expected, an MMSE receiver offers better performance, representing a promising candidate for UWB systems. When the multiuser interference is dominant, all multiple access techniques exhibit similar performance under high-load conditions. If the number of users is significantly lower than the spreading factor, then DS outperforms both TH and OOC. Finally 2PPM is shown to offer better performance than the other modulation schemes in presence of multiuser interference; increasing the spreading factor is proposed as a more effective strategy for SER reduction than the use of time diversity.