In this paper, the faulty successive cancellation decoding of polar codes for the binary erasure channel is studied. To this end, a simple erasure-based fault model is introduced to represent errors in the decoder, and it is shown that, under this model, polarization does not happen, meaning that fully reliable communication is not possible at any rate. Furthermore, a lower bound on the frame error rate of polar codes under faulty successive cancellation decoding is provided, which is then used, along with a well-known upper bound, in order to choose a blocklength that minimizes the erasure probability under faulty decoding. Finally, an unequal error protection scheme that can re-enable asymptotically erasure-free transmission at a small rate loss and by protecting only a constant fraction of the decoder is proposed. The same scheme is also shown to significantly improve the finite-length performance of the faulty successive cancellation decoder by protecting as little as 1.5% of the decoder.
- Polar codes
- faulty decoding
- successive cancellation decoding