Optimum Pilot Overhead in Wireless Communication: A Unified Treatment of Continuous and Block-Fading Channels

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Executive Summary

The optimization of the pilot overhead in single-user wireless fading channels is investigated, and the dependence of this overhead on various system parameters of interest (e.g., fading rate, signal-to-noise ratio) is quantified. The achievable pilot-based spectral efficiency is expanded with respect to the fading rate about the no-fading point, which leads to an accurate order expansion for the pilot overhead. This expansion identifies that the pilot overhead, as well as the spectral efficiency penalty with respect to a reference system with genie-aided CSI (Channel State Information) at the receiver, depend on the square root of the normalized Doppler frequency.

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