Skip to Main Content
This paper considers the relationship between code-rate selection and queueing performance for communication systems subject to time-varying channel conditions. While error-correcting codes offer protection against channel uncertainties, there exists a natural tradeoff between the enhanced protection of low-rate codes and the rate penalty imposed by additional redundancy. In the limiting regime where codewords are asymptotically long, this tradeoff is well understood and characterized by the Shannon capacity. However, for delay-sensitive communication systems and finite block lengths, a complete characterization of this tradeoff is not fully developed. This paper offers a new perspective on the queueing performance of communication systems with finite block lengths operating over correlated erasure channels. A rigorous framework that links code rate to overall system performance for random codes is presented. Guidelines for code-rate selection in delay-sensitive systems are identified. These findings are supported by a numerical study.