In one embodiment, the invention is a method for performing preamble detection in a wireless communication network. The method performs a first dwell, wherein non-overlapping chunks of received data are processed to generate partial correlation values for each possible combination of a signature code and delay. Candidate selection is performed by comparing each of the partial correlation values to a candidate-selection threshold. For each detected candidate, the chunks of received data are processed to generate full correlation values. Each full correlation value is then compared to a preamble-detection threshold to detect a transmitted signature. Generating full correlation values for only the selected candidates reduces the computation complexity over prior-art methods that generate full correlation values for all signatures at all delays.