Source fidelity over fading channels: Performance of erasure and scalable codes

Konstantinos E. Zachariadis*, Michael L. Honig, Aggelos K. Katsaggelos

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


We consider the transmission of a Gaussian source through a block fading channel. Assuming each block is decoded independently, the received distortion depends on the tradeoff between quantization accuracy and probability of outage. Namely, higher quantization accuracy requires a higher channel code rate, which increases the probability of outage. We first treat an outage as an erasure, and evaluate the received mean distortion with erasure coding across blocks as a function of the code length. We then evaluate the performance of scalable, or multi-resolution coding in which coded layers are superimposed within a coherence block, and the layers are sequentially decoded. Both the rate and power allocated to each layer are optimized. In addition to analyzing the performance with a finite number of layers, we evaluate the mean distortion at high Signal-to-Noise Ratios as the number of layers becomes infinite. As the block length of the erasure code increases to infinity, the received distortion converges to a deterministic limit, which is less than the mean distortion with an infinite-layer scalable coding scheme. However, for the same standard deviation in received distortion, infinite layer scalable coding performs slightly better than erasure coding, and with much less decoding delay.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1080-1091
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2008


  • Broadcast channel
  • Fading channel
  • Rate distortion
  • Scalable coding
  • Source-channel coding

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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