Physical Layer Network Coding: From Theory to Practice

Visiting researcher: Dr Wei Chen (THU)
Host researcher: Prof. Lajos Hanzo (University of Southampton)
Duration: 3 months
Status: Completed

Biography of the visiting researcher

Wei Chen (S’03-M’07) received his BS and PhD degrees in Electronic Engineering (both with the highest honors) from Tsinghua University, Beijing, China, in 2002, and 2007, respectively. From May 2005 to Mar. 2007, he was a visiting research staff in Department of Electronic and Computer Engineering, the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology. Since July 2007, he has been with Department of Electronic Engineering, Tsinghua University, where he is currently an Assistant Professor. He visited the Chinese University of Hong Kong on October, 2007 and the Hong Kong University of Science & Technology on September, 2008 and September, 2009.
His research interests are in the broad areas of wireless communications, information theory and applied optimizations. In these areas, he has lead several industrial and academic projects, such as NSFC young investigator funding, Ministry of Education young faculty funding, and the university key funding of Huawei.
He is a member of Comsoc and Wireless Technical Committee. He has served as TPC members for a number of major international conferences, including IEEE ICC, Globecom, WCNC, and VTC. He served as student travel grant chair of ICC ’08, co-chair of cognitive and cooperative network workshop 2008, and TPC co-chair of wireless communication symposium in ICC ’10. He received the 2009 IEEE Marconi Prize Paper Award, the Best Paper Award at IEEE ICC 2006 and the Best Paper Award at IEEE IWCLD 2007.

Background and Motivation

Wireless network coding is an emerging and powerful solution that can significantly improve the bandwidth and energy efficiency of the bi-directional relay or X relay systems. As the relay stations/terminals are widely adopted in B3G and/or 4G standards, such as IMT-Advanced, WiMAX and Femtocell systems, network coding techniques for wireless relaying will no doubt play a key role in these next generation systems. Among various wireless network coding techniques, the physical layer network coding (PNC) or the analog network coding can particularly benefit the relay system design due to its low complexity and high spectrum efficiency achieved by utilizing the interference nature of wireless transmissions. As such, it has attracted much attention from both academia and industry recently. However, few attentions have been paid to the practical and implementation issues of the physical layer network coding, which are highly desired for PNC’s applications in B3G/4G systems. In this project, we intend to investigate some practical topics of the physical layer network coding. Of particular interests are the constellation design and power allocations schemes. Our aim is to jointly optimize the overall performance of the network coded relay systems including bit error rate (BER), power efficiency of sources and relays, as well as the encoding/decoding complexity at the relay/receivers. The deliverable results of this project may substantially contribute to the theory and practical algorithms of bi-directional relaying and X-relaying in B3G/4G systems.

Research Activities

The research goal was successfully achieved given our joint efforts during my three months’ visit. In particular, a novel wireless network coding method, namely, network coded modulation, or, NCM, was proposed for practical and arbitrary constellations. The proposed scheme can be well compatible with the current transceiver designs in low complexity. As a result, we believe that the proposed method can be beneficial to both academic and industry. Based on the research outputs, we have drafted a research paper, which has been accepted by IEEE WCNC 2011. We are also working on the journal version of this work, which will be submitted to IEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology. Furthermore, we shall keep working on some interesting further research directions that were found in our joint work.


  1. One jointed paper accepted by IEEE WCNC 2011.
  2. One jointed paper to be submitted to IEEE Trans. On Vehicular Technology.
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