Short-Packet Communications Over Multiple-Antenna Rayleigh-Fading Channels Articles uri icon

publication date

  • February 2016

start page

  • 618

end page

  • 629


  • 2


  • 64

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0090-6778

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1558-0857


  • Motivated by the current interest in ultra-reliable, low-latency, machine-type communication systems, we investigate the tradeoff between reliability, throughput, and latency in the transmission of information over multiple-antenna Rayleigh block-fading channels. Specifically, we obtain finite-blocklength, finite-SNR upper and lower bounds on the maximum coding rate achievable over such channels for a given constraint on the packet error probability. Numerical evidence suggests that our bounds delimit tightly the maximum coding rate already for short blocklengths (packets of about 100 symbols). Furthermore, our bounds reveal the existence of a tradeoff between the rate gain obtainable by spreading each codeword over all available time-frequency-spatial degrees of freedom, and the rate loss caused by the need of estimating the fading coefficients over these degrees of freedom. In particular, our bounds allow us to determine the optimal number of transmit antennas and the optimal number of time-frequency diversity branches that maximize the rate. Finally, we show that infinite-blocklength performance metrics such as the ergodic capacity and the outage capacity yield inaccurate throughput estimates.


  • Electronics
  • Telecommunications


  • ultra-reliable low-latency communications; mission-critical machine-type communications; multiple antennas; fading channels; transmit diversity; spatial multiplexing; finiteblocklength; information theory; 5g