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We consider layered transmission of a successively refinable source over a quasi-static fading channel. We establish a duality relationship between this problem and that of packet transmission over erasure channels and use it to share solution techniques in both domains. For a Gaussian source and the fading channel, a low-complexity, optimal algorithm is proposed, and it is shown that the corresponding dual for packet erasure channels has a linear complexity as opposed to the quadratic complexity of the best known optimal algorithms in the literature. For non-Gaussian sources, the optimal rate allocation problem for fading channels is solved using the dual solution for erasure channels. It is also shown that a single-layer system is optimal for fading channels if the goal is to maximize the rate. Numerical results for multiple antenna Rayleigh fading channels are presented for Gaussian sources and practical image coders. It is shown that a few number of layers significantly improves the performance. Finally, we numerically show that for practical operating conditions, optimizing the asymptotic measure of distortion exponent is not enough when there are more than one transmit or receive antennas.
Date of Publication: April 2008