- Research
- Open Access

# Security-reliability performance of cognitive AF relay-based wireless communication system with channel estimation error

- Qi Gu
^{1}, - Gongpu Wang
^{1}Email author, - Li Gao
^{2}and - Mugen Peng
^{3}

**2014**:28

https://doi.org/10.1186/1687-6180-2014-28

© Gu et al.; licensee Springer. 2014

**Received:**23 November 2013**Accepted:**29 January 2014**Published:**5 March 2014

## Abstract

In this paper, both the security and the reliability performance of the cognitive amplify-and-forward (AF) relay system are analyzed in the presence of the channel estimation error. The security and the reliability performance are represented by the outage probability and the intercept probability, respectively. Instead of perfect channel state information (CSI) predominantly assumed in the literature, a certain channel estimation algorithm and the influence of the corresponding channel estimation error are considered in this study. Specifically, linear minimum mean square error estimation (LMMSE) is utilized by the destination node and the eavesdropper node to obtain the CSI, and the closed form for the outage probability and that for the intercept probability are derived with the channel estimation error. It is shown that the transmission security (reliability) can be improved by loosening the reliability (security) requirement. Moreover, we compare the security and reliability performance of this relay-based cognitive radio system with those of the direct communication system without relay. Interestingly, it is found that the AF relay-based system has less reliability performance than the direct cognitive radio system; however, it can lower the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability than the direct communication system. It is also found that there exists an optimal training number to minimize the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability.

## Keywords

- Channel estimation error
- Secure wireless communication
- Cognitive radio
- Security-reliability performance
- Amplify-and-forward
- Relay network

## 1 Introduction

Nowadays, the increasing demand for high data rate wireless access and services brings about the problem of spectrum scarcity [1]. Cognitive radio (CR) [2, 3] has been recognized as a promising technology to improve spectrum utilization efficiency and solve the spectrum scarcity problem. CR can enable unlicensed users, also referred to as cognitive users or secondary users, to communicate with each other over licensed bands. FCC [4] gives a formal definition of CR: ‘A cognitive radio is a radio that can change its transmitter parameters based on interaction with the environment it operates’.

Typically, a cognitive transmission process consists of two essential phases: spectrum sensing phase and data transmission phase. In the spectrum sensing phase, cognitive users attempt to find the spectrum hole, which is a frequency band assigned to the primary users but is not being utilized by the users at a particular time and specific geographic location [5]. The spectrum hole is typically located through the following techniques: energy detection [6], matched filter, and cyclostationary detection [7]. In the data transmission phase, cognitive users transmit data to each other through the detected spectrum hole. Different transmission techniques have been studied in [8–11] and references therein.

Due to the broadcasting nature of wireless channel and the openness of cognitive radio architecture where various unknown wireless devices are allowed to access the licensed spectrum, cognitive radio systems face a challenge of physical layer security. For example, one receiver located near the cognitive source can receive the signal from it and recover the original information.

Much attention has been given to physical layer security in wireless communication systems [12–14]. It is Wyner who firstly investigated the physical-layer security problem in an information-theoretic sense [15] in 1975. Shortly after, the authors in [16] extended Wyner’s results to Gaussian wiretap channels and derived the secrecy capacity. In recent years, a multiple-input single-output (MISO) wiretap channel is considered in [12], and a multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) wiretap channel is studied in [13]. Besides, cooperative relay-aided secure communication has been suggested in [14]. Furthermore, the authors in [17] characterize the security-reliability trade-off performance of conventional direct transmission from source to destination in the presence of an eavesdropper, where the security and reliability are evaluated by the intercept probability at the eavesdropper and the outage probability at the destination, respectively.

All the previous works for traditional point-to-point networks [12–14] and relay-based systems [17–19] about secure wireless communication assumed perfect channel state information (CSI). However, in a practical situation, perfect CSI cannot be obtained. For most practical wireless communication systems, training symbols are transmitted so that the receiver can estimate the channel [20].

Almost in every situation, channel estimation error exists. To our best knowledge, secure wireless communication for relay-based networks has not been addressed in the case of the presence of channel estimation error, which motivates our present work.

In this paper, we study the security and reliability performance of the cognitive amplify-and-forward (AF) relay system in the presence of channel estimation error, and we compare its performance with that of the direct communication cognitive radio system. Specifically, we assume that all communication systems utilize linear minimum mean square error estimation (LMMSE) to obtain channel parameters and derive the corresponding channel estimation error. Based on channel estimates, the detection of data symbols can be found and the channel capacity in the presence of channel estimation error can be obtained. Next, we derive the outage probability and the intercept probability to evaluate the reliability and security performance, respectively. We find that the transmission security (reliability) can be improved by loosening the reliability (security) requirement. Moreover, comparing the security and the reliability performance of this relay-based system with those of the direct communication system without relay, we find that the AF relay-based system has less reliability performance than the direct system; however, it can lower the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability than the direct communication system. We also show that there exists an optimal training number to minimize the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability.

This paper is organized as follows: Section 2 gives the system model and Section 3 shows the sensing performance of the cognitive system. Next, the capacity analysis in the presence of channel estimation error is presented in Section 4. The security and the reliability performance are analyzed in Section 5, and numerical results are provided in Section 6 to corroborate our proposed studies. Finally, Section 7 concludes the paper.

## 2 System model

_{1}and PU

_{2}, that are communicating over certain licensed bands. The secondary network is a cognitive one-way relay network with one source, one destination, and one relay. One eavesdropper is assumed to intercept the cognitive transmission from the source to the destination. The solid and dash lines in Figure 1 represent the main links (one from the source via the relay to the destination and the other from the source directly to the destination) and wiretap links (from the source and from the relay to the eavesdropper), respectively.

*S*symbols’ period at the beginning of each slot and will start the transmission process when sensing the spectrum whole and stop after

*N*symbols are transmitted. The whole slot contains

*L*

_{slot}=

*S*+2

*N*symbols.

The transmission process involves two phases. In the first phase, the source node broadcasts signals to the relay node and the destination node; in the second phase, the relay node employs the amplify-and-forward (AF) protocol to resend the received signal to the destination node. That is, the relay node amplifies its received signal with a constant factor *α* and then forwards it to the destination.

Suppose the subslot transmitted from the source contains *N* symbols that consist of *K* training symbols *p*(*n*) and *M* data symbols *s*(*n*), as shown in Figure 2. Clearly, *N*=*K*+*M*. Let ${\mathcal{T}}_{p}$ denote the index set of the training symbols while denote ${\mathcal{T}}_{d}$ as the index set of data symbols. The full time index set is then $\mathcal{T}={\mathcal{T}}_{d}\bigcup {\mathcal{T}}_{p}=\{n=1,2,\dots ,N\}$.

Let *H*_{
p
} represent whether or not there is a spectrum hole for the current time slot. Specifically, *H*_{
p
}=*H*_{0} represents that a spectrum hole is available, i.e., the channel is unoccupied by the primary users; otherwise, *H*_{
p
}=*H*_{1}. Without loss of generality, we suppose PU_{1} is transmitting signal *x*_{
p
}(*n*) to PU_{2} in the case of *H*_{
p
}=*H*_{1}. As did in [21], we model *H*_{
p
} as a Bernoulli random variable with parameter *P*_{
∅
} (the probability of the channel being available for secondary users), i.e., Pr(*H*_{
p
}=*H*_{0})=*P*_{
∅
} and Pr(*H*_{
p
}=*H*_{1})=1−*P*_{
∅
}.

Let ${\u0124}_{s}$ represent the sensing decision by the source node, i.e., ${\u0124}_{s}={H}_{0}$ or ${\u0124}_{s}={H}_{1}$.

*h*

_{ab}from node a to node b is denoted as

*w*

_{ab}which is assumed as a zero-mean complex Gaussian variable with variance

*N*

_{0}.

**List of the channel notations**

Notation | Definition | Distribution |
---|---|---|

| Channel from source to destination | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{sd}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from source to relay | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{sr}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from relay to destination | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{rd}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from source to eavesdropper | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{se}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from relay to eavesdropper | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{re}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from PU | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{ps}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from PU | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{pr}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from PU | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{pd}}^{2})$ |

| Channel from PU | $\mathcal{C}\mathcal{N}(0,{\sigma}_{\text{pe}}^{2})$ |

### 2.1 Source

At the beginning of each slot, the source will sense the licensed channel and decide its existence or not. If it decides $\u0124={H}_{0}$, then the source will transmit *N* symbols to the relay and the destination, and next the relay will forward the received *N* symbols to the destination.

*S*symbol periods is

*w*

_{ps}(

*n*) is the noise at the source node and

*θ*(

*n*) is the signal transmitted from the PU

### 2.2 Relay

_{1}is

*P*

_{ s }and

*P*

_{ p }, respectively. The signal received at the relay node is

*x*(

*n*) is defined as

and *θ*(*n*) is the signal transmitted from the PU defined in (2).

*r*(

*n*) with a factor

*α*and forward it to the destination node. The factor

*α*is defined as

### 2.3 Destination

*I*

_{pd}(

*n*) is the interference from the primary user

*w*

_{srd}(

*n*) is the combined noise defined as

*w*

_{srd}(

*n*) is zero-mean Gaussian-distributed with variance

### 2.4 Eavesdropper

*w*

_{sre}(

*n*) is the combined noise defined as

*I*

_{pe}(

*n*) is the interference from the primary user

*w*

_{sre}(

*n*) is zero-mean Gaussian-distributed with variance

## 3 Sensing performance

*P*

_{ f }as

*λ*

_{ED}is the decision threshold of the energy detector. Note that $\sum _{n=1}^{S}\left|{w}_{\text{ps}}\right(n){|}^{2}$ can be considered as a central chi-squared random variable ${\mathcal{X}}_{2S}^{2}$ with 2

*S*degrees of freedom [22]. Therefore, Equation 16 can be found as [23]

*H*

_{ p }=

*H*

_{1}, the signal received at the source is

*x*

_{ p }(

*n*) plus noise. The individual detection probability

*P*

_{ d }at the source node can be thus obtained as

*S*degrees of freedom [22]. Hence, we can further obtain (16) as

## 4 Channel capacity with estimation error

In this section, the channel estimation and data detection process at the destination and also at the eavesdropper are analyzed. The LMMSE method is chosen due to its optimal estimation performance for Gaussian signals [24]. Based on the analysis of estimation and detection process, the mathematical expressions for channel capacity with estimation error are derived.

The source will begin transmission in the two cases of ${\u0124}_{s}={H}_{0}$: one is that it successfully detects the existence of the spectrum hole when there is no transmission between the primary users; the other is that it mistakenly detects the appearance of the spectrum hole when the primary users are communicating. In the former case, the nodes in the cognitive system can communicate without any interference from the primary users. Suppose the achievable channel capacity in this case is *C*_{I}. In the latter case, both PU_{1}, the cognitive source and the cognitive relay will transmit signals and will interfere with each other. In such case, the cognitive system can also obtain certain channel capacity *C*_{II}. However, the capacity gain is limited and negligible especially when *P*_{
p
}, the transmission power of PU_{1}, is high [21]. Thus, in the following capacity analysis, we focus on the first case.

### 4.1 Signal processing at destination

#### 4.1.1 The first phase

*H*

_{ p }=

*H*

_{0}, the item

*θ*(

*n*) in Equation (6) is zero. Stack

*d*

_{1}(

*n*),

*p*(

*n*), and

*w*

_{sd}(

*n*) from the set ${\mathcal{T}}_{p}$ into

*K*×1 vectors

**d**

_{1p},

**p**, and

**w**

_{d 1p}, respectively. We can obtain the following equation from (6)

**p**

^{ H }will give

*y*

_{1p}=

**p**

^{ H }

**d**

_{1p}. Utilizing the LMMSE method, the estimate of the channel

*h*

_{sd}can be found from (21) as

*E*(.) denotes the statistical expectation throughout this paper. The mean of the channel estimate ${\u0125}_{\text{sd}}$ is zero and the variance is

*h*

_{sd}is

*ε*

_{sd}is zero-mean Gaussian-distributed with variance

for $n\in {\mathcal{T}}_{d}$.

#### 4.1.2 The second phase

*H*

_{ p }=

*H*

_{0}, the item

*I*

_{pd}(

*n*) in Equation 7 is zero. Stack

*d*

_{2}(

*n*) and

*w*

_{srd}(

*n*) from the set ${\mathcal{T}}_{p}$ into

*K*×1 vectors

**d**

_{2p}and

**w**

_{d 2p}, respectively. We can obtain the following equation from (7)

**p**

^{ H }will produce

Suppose *y*_{2p}=**p**^{
H
}**d**_{2p} and define the combined channel *h*_{srd}=*h*_{sr}*h*_{rd}. Clearly, the mean of *h*_{srd} is zero and the variance of *h*_{srd} is *σ* srd2=*σ* sr2*σ* rd2.

*h*

_{srd}with the LMMSE method as

*h*

_{srd}can be found as

*E*(

*ε*

_{srd})=0 and the variance of the channel estimation error

*ε*

_{srd}is

for $n\in {\mathcal{T}}_{d}$.

#####
**Remark**
**1**

This will guarantee that the interference which resulted from the channel estimation error can be translated into a sort of noise independent from the source signals [25], which will facilitate the capacity analysis in the following part.

#### 4.1.3 Channel capacity

*h*

_{sd}as

*h*

_{ s }

*r*

*d*as

where *P*_{
f
} is the false alarm probability defined in (17) and *P*_{
d
} is the detection probability defined in (19). The approximation is due to that *C*_{II} represents the channel capacity in the case that the cognitive users mistakenly detect the appearance of the spectrum hole when the primary users are communicating. In such case, both PU1, the cognitive source, and the cognitive relay will interfere with each other, which will result in a small value of *C*_{II} as in [21, 26]. Moreover, we can adjust the threshold so that the detection probability *P*_{
d
} can approach 1. Therefore, the item (1−*P*_{
∅
})(1−*P*_{
d
})*C*_{II} in (40) is negligible.

### 4.2 Signal processing at the eavesdropper

Since the eavesdropper will take a similar estimation and detection process as the destination, the process is described briefly in this subsection.

#### 4.2.1 The first phase

*e*

_{1}(

*n*) and

*w*

_{se}(

*n*) from the set ${\mathcal{T}}_{p}$ into

*K*×1 vectors

**e**

_{1p}and

**w**

_{e 1p}. We can find from (11) the following equation:

*h*

_{se}can be obtained as

*E*(

*ε*

_{se})=0 and the variance of the channel estimation error

*ε*

_{se}is

for $n\in {\mathcal{T}}_{d}$.

#### 4.2.2 The second phase

*e*

_{2}(

*n*) and

*w*

_{sre}(

*n*) from the set ${\mathcal{T}}_{p}$ into

*K*×1 vectors

**e**

_{2p}and

**w**

_{e 2p}, respectively. We can obtain the following equation from (12):

Define the combined channel *g*_{sre}=*h*_{sr}*g*_{re}. Clearly, *E*(*g*_{sre})=0 and the variance of *g*_{sre} is *σ* sre2=*σ* sr2*σ* re2.

*g*

_{sre}with the LMMSE method as

*g*

_{sre}is

*E*(

*ε*

_{sre})=0 and the variance of the channel estimation error

*ε*

_{sre}is

for $n\in {\mathcal{T}}_{d}$.

#### 4.2.3 Channel capacity

*h*

_{se}as

*h*

_{sre}as

## 5 Security-reliability performance

### 5.1 Outage probability

*R*, the destination node is unable to recover the source signal and an outage event will occur in this case. Thus, the outage probability of the main links is given as

*γ*

_{ s }=

*P*

_{ s }/

*N*

_{0}. Note that both $|{\u0125}_{\text{sd}}{|}^{2}$ and |

*ε*

_{sd}|

^{2}follow exponential distribution; we can thus find

*γ*

_{ r }=

*α*

^{2}

*P*

_{ r }

*P*

_{ s }/

*N*

_{srd}. Considering that both $|{\u0125}_{\text{sd}}{|}^{2}$ and |

*ε*

_{sd}|

^{2}follow exponential distribution, we can further obtain

### 5.2 Intercept probability

*R*. Hence, the intercept probability for both channels

*h*

_{se}and

*h*

_{sre}is

where *γ*_{
e
}=*α*^{2}*P*_{
r
}*P*_{
s
}/*N*_{sre}.

### 5.3 Approximation

**p**

^{ H }

**p**≫

*N*

_{0}or at high SNR, i.e.,

*P*

_{ s }≫

*N*

_{0}and

*P*

_{ r }≫

*N*

_{0}, we can have the following approximation:

**p**

^{ H }

**p**=

*K*. Also assume that

### 5.4 Comparison with direct channel

*h*

_{sd}and

*g*

_{se}, the outage probability and intercept probability can be found as

where ${\kappa}_{2}={2}^{\frac{R{L}_{\text{slot}}}{M{P}_{\varnothing}(1-{P}_{f})}}-1$. Please refer to [27] for the detailed derivation process.

**p**

^{ H }

**p**≫

*N*

_{0}or at high SNR, we can further simplify (73) and (74) as

####
**Proposition**
**1**

**Proposition** **2**.

*R*. The minimum value of the total probability for the relay-based transmission is less than that for direct transmission, i.e.,

Note that the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability ${P}_{\text{out}}^{\left(R\right)}+{P}_{\text{out}}^{\left(R\right)}$ can be considered as a parameter to measure the overall performance. It needs to be pointed out that the strictly mathematical proof of the two propositions is challenging; however, they can be numerically verified through computer simulations^{a}.

## 6 Simulation results

In this section, we numerically evaluate both the security and reliability performance of the cognitive relay system with channel estimation error. Let us fix the slot length *L*_{slot}=1,000 and sensing duration *S*=2 and choose the threshold of the energy detector *λ*_{ED}=9.2 so that the false alarm probability in (17) *P*_{
f
}=0.01.

*K*=10,

*P*

_{ s }=

*P*

_{ r }=1,000,

*N*

_{0}=1,

*σ*sd2=

*σ*sr2=

*σ*rd2=8, and

*σ*se2=

*σ*re2=2. Increasing the data rate

*R*from 0 to 12 bps/Hz, we can obtain the outage probability and the intercept probability from (65) and (69), respectively. For comparison, the outage probability and the intercept probability of direct transmission without relay are also found from (73) and (74). The outage probability and intercept probability versus data rate

*R*is plotted in Figure 3. The sum of outage probability and intercept probability versus data rate

*R*in the case of one relay and no relay is also plotted in Figure 4.

*P*

_{ s }=

*P*

_{ r }from 0 to 1,000 and increase the number of training symbols

*K*from 1 to 100, and then we can find the minimum value of the probability sum for the relay-based transmission and direct transmission, respectively. The minimum sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability versus the transmission power and the training number is plotted in Figure 5. It can be seen that the relay-base transmission system can obtain lower probability sum than the direct transmission system, which implies better joint security and reliability performance of the relay-based transmission system than the direct transmission system.

*K*from 1 to 300 and obtain the outage probability and the intercept probability from (65) and (69), respectively. Figure 6 plots the outage probability, the intercept probability, and the sum of the two probabilities versus the training number

*K*. The increasing value of the training number

*K*will result in less data symbols

*M*and thus reduced channel capacity

*C*

_{ d }. Therefore, given data rate

*R*, the outage probability will increase while the intercept probability will decrease with the larger training number

*K*. However, it can be seen from Figure 6 that the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability first decreases and then increases when the training number

*K*increases from 1 to 400. Clearly, there exists an optimal value of

*K*so that the probability sum can be minimized.We also examine the approximation performance of the outage probability and the intercept probability. The approximate value and the exact value for the outage probability are obtained from (71) and (65), respectively. So are those for the intercept probability from (72) and (69). Figure 7 shows the nice agreement of approximate values with theoretical ones.

## 7 Conclusion

This paper evaluated both the security and the reliability performance of the cognitive amplify-and-forward (AF) relay system in the presence of the channel estimation error. Specifically, LMMSE is utilized by the destination node and the eavesdropper node to obtain the CSI, and the closed form for the outage probability and that for the intercept probability are derived. Based on these, the security and the reliability performance were evaluated in the form of the outage probability and the intercept probability, respectively. It was shown that the transmission security (reliability) could be improved by loosening the reliability (security) requirement. Moreover, the security and the reliability performance of this relay-based system were compared with those of the direct communication system without relay. Interestingly, it was found that the AF relay-based system has less reliability performance than the direct system; however, it can lower the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability than the direct system. It was also found that there exists an optimal training number to minimize the sum of the outage probability and the intercept probability.

## Endnote

^{a} This is the reason for the name of proposition, instead of theorem.

## Declarations

### Acknowledgements

This study is supported in part by the Key Laboratory of Universal Wireless Communications, Ministry of Education, China. This study is also supported in part by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 61201202, No. 61372116, and No. 61071077) and by Tsinghua-Tencent Joint Laboratory for Internet Innovation Technology.

## Authors’ Affiliations

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## Copyright

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.