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This paper tries to answer the questions of how to enable cooperative communications in random access networks. And, since cooperation introduces extra transmissions in the channel, what are the benefits and possible tradeoffs associated with cooperation? To answer these questions, a novel cooperative protocol for wireless networks based on IEEE 802.11 random access protocol is proposed. Cooperation is achieved through the deployment of a relay node that intelligently accesses the wireless medium without imposing any penalties in terms of increased collision probability. To help other network nodes, relay stores packets in its queue, and accesses the channel after each transmission attempt made by any network node.
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