Covert Communication with Channel-State Information at the Transmitter

Si-Hyeon Lee, Ligong Wang, Ashish Khisti, Gregory W. Wornell

We consider the problem of covert communication over a state-dependent channel, where the transmitter has causal or noncausal knowledge of the channel states. Here, "covert" means that a warden on the channel should observe similar statistics when the transmitter is sending a message and when it is not. When a sufficiently long secret key is shared between the transmitter and the receiver, we derive closed-form formulas for the maximum achievable covert communication rate ("covert capacity") for discrete memoryless channels and, when the transmitter's channel-state information (CSI) is noncausal, for additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channels. For certain channel models, including the AWGN channel, we show that the covert capacity is positive with CSI at the transmitter, but is zero without CSI. We also derive lower bounds on the rate of the secret key that is needed for the transmitter and the receiver to achieve the covert capacity.

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