Conference paper

Delay with network coding and feedback

We consider the problem of minimizing delay when broadcasting over erasure channels with feedback. A sender wishes to communicate the same set of mu messages to several receivers over separate erasure channels. The sender can broadcast a single message or a combination (encoding) of messages at each timestep. Receivers provide feedback as to whether the transmission was received. If at some time step a receiver cannot identify a new message, delay is incurred. Our notion of delay is motivated by real-time applications that request progressively refined input, such as the successive refinement of an image encoded using multiple description coding. Our setup is novel because it combines coding techniques with feedback information to the end of minimizing delay. It allows Theta(mu) benefits as compared to previous approaches for offline algorithms, while feedback allows online algorithms to achieve smaller delay than online algorithms without feedback. Our main complexity results are that the offline minimization problem is NP-hard when the sender only schedules single messages and that the general problem remains NP-hard even when coding is allowed. However we show that coding does offer delay and complexity gains over scheduling. We also discuss online heuristics and evaluate their performance through simulations.

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