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This paper presents new coherent and non-coherent detection methods for the IEEE 802.15.4a low-rate ultra-wideband physical layer with forward error correction (FEC) coding techniques. The coherent detection method involving channel estimation is based on the correlation characteristics of the preamble signal. A coherent receiver uses novel iterated selective-rake (IT-SRAKE) to detect 2-bit data in a non-line-of-sight channel. The non-coherent detection method that does not involve channel estimation employs a 2-bit data detection scheme using modified transmitted reference pulse cluster (M-TRPC) methods. To compare the two schemes, we have designed an IT-SRAKE receiver and a M-TRPC receiver using an IEEE 802.15.4a physical layer. Simulation results show the performance of IT-SRAKE is better than that of the M-TRPC by 3–9 dB.