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In this paper, the authors propose a simple analytical methodology to study the performance of multi-source multi-relay cooperative wireless networks with network coding at the relay nodes and Maximum-Likelihood (ML-) optimum channel-aware detectors at the destination. Channel-aware detectors are a broad class of receivers that account for possible decoding errors at the relays, and, thus, are inherently designed to mitigate the effect of erroneous forwarded and network-coded data. In spite of the analytical complexity of the problem at hand, the proposed framework turns out to be simple enough yet accurate and insightful to understand the behavior of the system, and, in particular, to capture advantages and disadvantages of various network codes and the impact of error propagation on their performance.
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