Coded Random Access: Applying Codes on Graphs to Design Random Access Protocols

Enrico Paolini, Cedomir Stefanovic, Gianluigi Liva, Petar Popovski

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

135 Citations (Scopus)


The rise of machine-to-machine communications has rekindled the interest in random access protocols as a support for a massive number of uncoordinatedly transmitting devices. The legacy ALOHA approach is developed under a collision model, where slots containing collided packets are considered as waste. However, if the common
receiver (e.g., base station) is capable to store the collision slots and use them in a transmission recovery process based on successive interference cancellation, the design space for access protocols is radically expanded. We present the paradigm of coded random access, in which the structure of the access protocol can be mapped to
a structure of an erasure-correcting code defined on graph. This opens the possibility to use coding theory and tools for designing efficient random access protocols, offering markedly better performance than ALOHA. Several instances of coded random access protocols are described, as well as a case study on how to upgrade a legacy
ALOHA system using the ideas of coded random access.
Original languageEnglish
JournalI E E E Communications Magazine
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)144 - 150
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015


  • random access, coded slotted ALOHA, successive interference cancellation


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