Covert Communication in the Presence of an Uninformed Jammer

Tamara V. Sobers, Boulat A. Bash, Saikat Guha, Don Towsley, Dennis Goeckel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

226 Scopus citations


Recent work has established that when transmitter Alice wishes to communicate reliably to recipient Bob without detection by warden Willie, with additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channels between all parties, communication is limited to O(√n) bits in n channel uses. However, this assumes that Willie has an accurate statistical characterization of the channel. When Willie has uncertainty about such and his receiver is limited to a threshold test on the received power, Alice can transmit covertly with a power that does not decrease with n, thus conveying O(n) bits covertly and reliably in n uses of an AWGN channel. Here, we consider covert communication of O(n) bits in n channel uses while generalizing the environment and removing any restrictions on Willie's receiver. We assume that an uninformed "jammer" is present to help Alice, and we consider AWGN and block fading channels. In some scenarios, Willie's optimal detector is a threshold test on the received power. When the channel between the jammer and Willie has multiple fading blocks per codeword, a threshold test on the received power is not optimal. However, we establish that Alice can remain covert with a transmit power that does not decrease with n even when Willie employs an optimal detector.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7964713
Pages (from-to)6193-6206
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2017


  • Low probability of detection communication
  • physical layer security
  • wireless covert communication

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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