Energy-Efficient Communication over the Unsynchronized Gaussian Diamond Network

Ritesh Kolte, Urs Niesen, Piyush Gupta

Communication networks are often designed and analyzed assuming tight synchronization among nodes. However, in applications that require communication in the energy-efficient regime of low signal-to-noise ratios, establishing tight synchronization among nodes in the network can result in a significant energy overhead. Motivated by a recent result showing that near-optimal energy efficiency can be achieved over the AWGN channel without requiring tight synchronization, we consider the question of whether the potential gains of cooperative communication can be achieved in the absence of synchronization. We focus on the symmetric Gaussian diamond network and establish that cooperative-communication gains are indeed feasible even with unsynchronized nodes. More precisely, we show that the capacity per unit energy of the unsynchronized symmetric Gaussian diamond network is within a constant factor of the capacity per unit energy of the corresponding synchronized network. To this end, we propose a distributed relaying scheme that does not require tight synchronization but nevertheless achieves most of the energy gains of coherent combining.

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