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At Low SNR, Asymmetric Quantizers are Better

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2 Author(s)
Koch, T. ; Dept. of Eng., Univ. of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK ; Lapidoth, A.

We study the capacity of the discrete-time Gaussian channel when its output is quantized with a 1-bit quantizer. We focus on the low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) regime, where communication at very low spectral efficiencies takes place. In this regime, a symmetric threshold quantizer is known to reduce channel capacity by a factor of 2/π, i.e., to cause an asymptotic power loss of approximately 2 dB. Here, it is shown that this power loss can be avoided by using asymmetric threshold quantizers and asymmetric signaling constellations. To avoid this power loss, flash-signaling input distributions are essential. Consequently, 1-bit output quantization of the Gaussian channel reduces spectral efficiency. Threshold quantizers are not only asymptotically optimal: at every fixed SNR, a threshold quantizer maximizes capacity among all 1-bit output quantizers. The picture changes on the Rayleigh-fading channel. In the noncoherent case, a 1-bit output quantizer causes an unavoidable low-SNR asymptotic power loss. In the coherent case, however, this power loss is avoidable provided that we allow the quantizer to depend on the fading level.

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Information Theory, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:59 ,  Issue: 9 )