Robust Power Allocation in Covert Communication: Imperfect CDI

15 Jan 2019  ·  Forouzesh Moslem, Azmi Paeiz, Mokari Nader, Goeckel Dennis ·

The study of the fundamental limits of covert communications, where a transmitter Alice wants to send information to a desired recipient Bob without detection of that transmission by an attentive and capable warden Willie, has emerged recently as a topic of great research interest. Critical to these analyses is a characterization of the detection problem that is presented to Willie. Previous work has assumed that the channel distribution information (CDI) is known to Alice, hence facilitating her characterization of Willie's capabilities to detect the signal. However, in practice, Willie tends to be passive and the environment heterogeneous, implying a lack of signaling interchange between the transmitter and Willie makes it difficult if not impossible for Alice to estimate the CDI exactly and provide covertness guarantees. In this paper, we address this issue by developing covert communication schemes for various assumptions on Alice's imperfect knowledge of the CDI: 1) when the transmitter knows the channel distribution is within some distance of a nominal channel distribution; 2) when only the mean and variance of the channel distribution are available at Alice; 3) when Alice knows the channel distribution is complex Gaussian but the variance is unknown. In each case, we formulate new optimization problems to find the power allocations that maximize covert rate subject to a covertness requirement under uncertain CDI. Moreover, since Willie faces similar challenges as Alice in estimating the CDI, we investigate two possible assumptions on the knowledge of the CDI at Willie: 1) CDI is known at Willie, 2) CDI is unknown at Willie. Numerical results are presented to compare the proposed schemes from various aspects, in particular the accuracy and efficiency of the proposed solutions for attaining desirable covert system performance.

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