Joint design of channel and network coding for star networks connected by binary symmetric channels

Christian Koller, Martin Haenggi, Jorg Kliewer, Daniel J. Costello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


In a network application, channel coding alone is not sufficient to reliably transmit a message of finite length K from a source to one or more destinations as in, e.g., file transfer. To ensure that no data is lost, it must be combined with rateless erasure correcting schemes on a higher layer, such as a time-division multiple access (TDMA) system paired with automatic repeat request (ARQ) or random linear network coding (RLNC). We consider binary channel coding on a binary symmetric channel (BSC) and q-ary RLNC for erasure correction in a star network, where Y sources send messages to each other with the help of a central relay. In this scenario RLNC has been shown to have a throughput advantage over TDMA schemes as K→∞ and q→∞. In this paper we focus on finite block lengths and compare the expected throughputs of RLNC and TDMA. For a total message length of K bits, which can be subdivided into blocks of smaller size prior to channel coding, we obtain the channel code rate and the number of blocks that maximize the expected throughput of both RLNC and TDMA, and we find that TDMA is more throughput-efficient for small message lengths K and small q.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6657830
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Random linear network coding
  • and joint channel and network coding
  • star networks


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