Super-activation as a unique feature of arbitrarily varying wiretap channels

Rafael F. Schaefer, Holger Boche, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

8 Scopus citations


The question of additivity of the capacity of a channel goes back to Shannon who asked this for the zero error capacity function. Despite the common sense that the capacity is usually additive, there is surprisingly little known for non-trivial channels. This paper addresses this question for the arbitrarily varying wiretap channel (AVWC) which models secure communication in the presence of arbitrarily varying channel (AVC) conditions. For orthogonal AVWCs it has been shown that the non-additivity phenomenon of super-activation occurs; that is, there are orthogonal AVWCs, each having zero secrecy capacity, which allow for transmission with positive secrecy rate if they are used together. It is shown that for such orthogonal AVWCs super-activation is generic in the sense that whenever super-activation is possible, it is possible for all AVWCs in a certain neighborhood as well. Moreover, it is shown that the issue of super-activation and the continuity of the secrecy capacity solely depend on the legitimate link. Accordingly, the single-user AVC is studied and it is shown that in this case, super-activation for non-secure message transmission is not possible, making it a unique feature of secure communication over AVWCs. However, the capacity for message transmission of the single-user AVC is shown to be super-additive including a complete characterization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings - ISIT 2016; 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781509018062
StatePublished - Aug 10 2016
Event2016 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2016 - Barcelona, Spain
Duration: Jul 10 2016Jul 15 2016

Publication series

NameIEEE International Symposium on Information Theory - Proceedings
ISSN (Print)2157-8095


Other2016 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory, ISIT 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Theoretical Computer Science
  • Information Systems
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Applied Mathematics


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