A secret-key generation scheme based on a layered broadcasting strategy is introduced for slow-fading channels. In the model considered, Alice wants to share a key with Bob while keeping the key secret from Eve, who is a passive eavesdropper. Both Alice-Bob and Alice-Eve channels are assumed to undergo slow fading, and perfect channel state information (CSI) is assumed to be known only at the receivers during the transmission. In each fading slot, Alice broadcasts a continuum of coded layers and, hence, allows Bob to decode at the rate corresponding to the fading state (unknown to Alice). The index of a reliably decoded layer is sent back from Bob to Alice via a public and error-free channel and used to generate a common secret key. In this paper, the achievable secrecy key rate is first derived for a given power distribution over coded layers. The optimal power distribution is then characterized. It is shown that layered broadcast coding can increase the secrecy key rate significantly compared to single-level coding.Comment: submitted to IEEE Trans. Information Theor
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