Capacity analysis of discrete energy harvesting channels

Wei Mao, Babak Hassibi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We study the channel capacity of a general discrete energy harvesting channel with a finite battery. Contrary to traditional communication systems, the transmitter of such a channel is powered by a device that harvests energy from a random exogenous energy source and has a finite-sized battery. As a consequence, at each transmission opportunity, the system can only transmit a symbol whose energy is no more than the energy currently available. This new type of power supply introduces an unprecedented input constraint for the channel, which is simultaneously random, instantaneous, and influenced by the full history of the inputs and the energy harvesting process. Furthermore, naturally, in such a channel, the energy information is observed causally at the transmitter. Both of these characteristics pose great challenges for the analysis of the channel capacity. In this paper, we use techniques developed for channels with side information and finite-state channels, to obtain lower and upper bounds on the capacity of energy harvesting channels. In particular, in a general case with Markov energy harvesting processes, we use stationarity and ergodicity theory to compute and optimize the achievable rates for the channels, and derive a series of computable capacity upper and lower bounds.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5850-5885
Number of pages36
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Theory
Issue number9
StatePublished - Jul 12 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2022-06-08
Acknowledgements: This work was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant CNS-0932428, Grant CCF-1018927, Grant CCF-1423663, and Grant CCF-1409204, in part by a grant from Qualcomm Inc., in part by the NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory through the President and Director's Fund, in part by King Abdulaziz University, and in part by the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.
This publication acknowledges KAUST support, but has no KAUST affiliated authors.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Information Systems
  • Computer Science Applications


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