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This paper studies the throughput performance of hybrid automatic repeat request (HARQ) protocols over block fading Gaussian channels. It proposes new protocols that use the available feedback bit(s) not only to request a retransmission, but also to inform the transmitter about the instantaneous channel quality. An explicit protocol construction is given for any number of retransmissions and any number of feedback bits. The novel protocol is shown to simultaneously realize the gains of HARQ and of power control with partial channel state information. Remarkable throughput improvements are shown, especially at low and moderate signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), with respect to protocols that use the feedback bits for retransmission request only. In particular, for the case of a single retransmission and a single feedback bit, it is shown that the repetition is not needed at low SNR where the throughput improvement is due to power control only. On the other hand, at high SNR, the repetition is useful and the performance gain comes from a combination of power control and ability to make up for deep fades.
Date of Publication: Aug. 2011