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Channel coding: Is there anywhere left to go?

Alan Carlton | June 29, 2016
With the coming of 5G, we may be at the cusp of a little renaissance period in channel coding

The excitement in Polar codes is still fresh for many reasons. First of all, Polar codes were invented fairly recently and the first round of research focus has been on establishing the theoretical foundations of these codes, which demonstrates significant potential. This includes a new code construction framework and tools that will potentially allow further research to bring these codes into the frame as a true candidate for beyond 4G (maybe 5G) channel codes.

Moreover, the practical implementation phase of Polar codes is just about to start, which will provide us the final word on the realistic performance of these codes, as was the case for Turbo codes and LDPC codes before them.

Only time (and lots of hard work) will tell whether Polar codes will establish themselves as the 5G code de la génération. Regardless, this innovation suggests that we are at the cusp of a little renaissance period in channel coding. This renaissance is being stimulated because the requirements goal posts are being shifted so enormously in 5G. This opens up whole new possibilities for innovation not just in channel coding, but in many other areas, too. Innovation in the wireless industry has never been more alive.



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