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This paper investigates the fundamental building blocks of Physical-layer Network Coding (PNC). Since its conception, PNC has developed into a subfield of network coding investigated by many. Most of the prior work, however, focused on the simplest communication setup in which PNC could be applied, namely the Two-Way-Relay Channel (TWRC). Studies of the application of PNC in general networks are relatively few. This paper is an attempt to fill this gap. To do so, the authors put forth two ideas For the purpose of scheduling transmissions, a general network can be decomposed into small building blocks of PNC, referred to as the PNC atoms.
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