Bandwidth-Agile Image Transmission with Deep Joint Source-Channel Coding

by   David Burth Kurka, et al.

We introduce deep learning based communication methods for adaptive-bandwidth transmission of images over wireless channels. We consider the scenario in which images are transmitted progressively in discrete layers over time or frequency, and such layers can be aggregated by receivers in order to increase the quality of their reconstructions. We investigate two scenarios, one in which the layers are sent sequentially, and incrementally contribute to the refinement of a reconstruction, and another in which the layers are independent and can be retrieved in any order. Those scenarios correspond to the well known problems of successive refinement and multiple descriptions, respectively, in the context of joint source-channel coding (JSCC). We propose DeepJSCC-l, an innovative solution that uses convolutional autoencoders, and present three different architectures with different complexity trade-offs. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first practical multiple-description JSCC scheme developed and tested for practical information sources and channels. Numerical results show that DeepJSCC-l can learn different strategies to divide the sources into a layered representation with negligible losses to the end-to-end performance when compared to a single transmission. Moreover, compared to state-of-the-art digital communication schemes, DeepJSCC-l performs well in the challenging low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) and small bandwidth regimes, and provides graceful degradation with channel SNR.



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