Wirelessly Powered Communication Networks With Short Packets


Talha Khan, Robert W. Heath, Jr., Petar Popovski


IEEE Transactions on Communications, vol. 24, no. 9, pp. 1284-1287, Sep. 2017.


Wirelessly powered communications will entail short packets due to naturally small payloads, low-latency requirements, and/or insufficient energy resources to support longer transmissions. In this paper, a wireless-powered communication system is investigated, where an energy harvesting transmitter, charged by power beacons via wireless energy transfer, attempts to communicate with a receiver over a noisy channel. Under a save-then-transmit protocol, the system performance is characterized using metrics, such as the energy supply probability at the transmitter, and the achievable rate at the receiver for the case of short packets. The analytical treatment is provided for two cases: a three-node setup with a single power beacon and a large-scale network with multiple power beacons. Leveraging finite-length information theory, tractable analytical expressions are derived for the considered metrics in terms of the harvest blocklength, the transmit blocklength, the harvested power, the transmit power, and the network density. The analysis provides several useful design guidelines. Though using a small transmit power or a small transmit blocklength helps avoid energy outages, the consequently smaller signal-to-noise ratio or the fewer coding opportunities may cause a data decoding error. Scaling laws are derived to capture this inherent tradeoff between the harvest and transmit blocklengths. Numerical results reveal that power control is essential for improving the achievable rate of the considered system. The asymptotically optimal transmit power yields nearly optimal performance in the finite blocklength regime.