Synchronization Analysis in Physical Layer Network Coding

Research paper by Shengli Zhang, Soung-Chang Liew, Hui Wang

Indexed on: 30 Dec '09Published on: 30 Dec '09Published in: Computer Science - Networking and Internet Architecture


Physical-layer Network Coding (PNC) makes use of the additive nature of the electromagnetic (EM) waves to apply network coding arithmetic at the physical layer. With PNC,the destructive effect of interference in wireless networks is eliminated and the capacity of networks can be boosted significantly. This paper addresses a key outstanding issue in PNC: synchronization among transmitting nodes. We first investigate the impact of imperfect synchronization (i.e., finite synchronization errors) in a 3-node network. It is shown that with QPSK modulation, PNC still yields significantly higher capacity than straightforward network coding when there are synchronization errors. Significantly, this remains to be so even in the extreme case when synchronization is not performed at all. Moving beyond a 3-node network, we propose and investigate a synchronization scheme for PNC in a general chain network. At last, numerical simulation verifies that PNC is robust to synchronization errors. In particular, for the mutual information performance, there is about 0.5dB loss without time synchronization and there is at most 2dB loss without phase synchronization.