Smart regenerative relays for link-adaptive cooperative communications

Tairan Wang, Georgios B. Giannakis, Renqiu Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

116 Scopus citations


Without being necessary to pack multiple antennas per terminal, cooperation among distributed single-antenna nodes offers resilience to shadowing and can, in principle, enhance the performance of wireless communication networks by exploiting the available space diversity. Enabling the latter however, calls for practically implementable protocols to cope with errors at relay nodes so that simple receiver processing can collect the diversity at the destination. To this end, we derive in this paper a class of strategies whereby decoded bits at relay nodes are scaled in power before being forwarded to the destination. The scale is adapted to the signal-to-noise-ratio (SNR) of the source-relay and the intended relay-destination links. With maximum ratio combining (MRC) at the destination, we prove that such link-adaptive regeneration (LAR) strategies effect the maximum possible diversity while requiring simple channel state information that can be pragmatically acquired at the relay. In addition, LAR exhibits robustness to quantization and feedback errors and leads to efficient use of power both at relay as well as destination nodes. Analysis and corroborating simulations demonstrate that LAR relays are attractive across the practical SNR range; they are universally applicable to multibranch and multi-hop uncoded or coded settings regardless of the underlying constellation; and outperform existing alternatives in terms of error performance, complexity and bandwidth efficiency.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1950-1960
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Communications
Issue number11
StatePublished - 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Paper approved by H. Minn, the Editor for Synchronization and Equalization of the IEEE Communications Society. Manuscript received December 17, 2006; revised May 10, 2007 and August 3, 2007. This work was supported through collaborative participation in the Communications and Networks Consortium sponsored by the U.S. Army Research Laboratory under the Collaborative Technology Alliance Program, Cooperative Agreement DAAD19-01-2-0011. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation thereon. This paper was presented in part at the 40th Conference on Information Sciences and Systems, Princeton University, NJ, March 2006.


  • Adaptive transmissions
  • Cooperative communications
  • Diversity order
  • Maximum-ratio-combining
  • Regenerative relay
  • Relay strategies


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