This paper considers the problem of estimation over communication networks. Suppose a sensor is taking measurements of a dynamic process. However the process needs to be estimated at a remote location connected to the sensor through a network of communication links that drop packets stochastically. We provide a framework for computing the optimal performance in the sense of expected error covariance. Using this framework we characterize the dependency of the performance on the topology of the network and the packet dropping process. For independent and memoryless packet dropping processes we find the steady-state error for some classes of networks and obtain lower and upper bounds for the performance of a general network. Finally we find a necessary and sufficient condition for the stability of the estimate error covariance for general networks with spatially correlated and Markov type dropping process. This interesting condition has a max-cut interpretation.
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