Quasi-Static Multiple-Antenna Fading Channels at Finite Blocklength
Journal article, 2014
This paper investigates the maximal achievable rate for a given blocklength and error probability over quasi-static multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) fading channels, with and without channel state information (CSI) at the transmitter and/or the receiver. The principal finding is that outage capacity, despite being an asymptotic quantity, is a sharp proxy for the finite-blocklength fundamental limits of slow-fading channels. Specifically, the channel dispersion is shown to be zero regardless of whether the fading realizations are available at both transmitter and receiver, at only one of them, or at neither of them. These results follow from analytically tractable converse and achievability bounds. Numerical evaluation of these bounds verifies that zero dispersion may indeed imply fast convergence to the outage capacity as the blocklength increases. In the example of a particular $1\times2$ single-input multiple-output (SIMO) Rician fading channel, the blocklength required to achieve $90\%$ of capacity is about an order of magnitude smaller compared to the blocklength required for an AWGN channel with the same capacity. For this specific scenario, the coding/decoding schemes adopted in the LTE-Advanced standard are benchmarked against the finite-blocklength achievability and converse bounds.