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The authors study the impact of multiple access strategies on the Diversity-Multiplexing Tradeoff (DMT) performance in wireless multi-user relay networks. The networks contain multiple independent sources, multiple half-duplex Decode-and-Forward (DF) relays, and one common destination. Instead of separately retransmitting each source message, the relays employ a class of spectrally efficient finite field network codes to assist the sources. It is shown that fully orthogonal or fully non-orthogonal transmission among sources/relays does not necessarily provide optimized DMT performance. They propose a novel transmission protocol that divides the sources and relays into individual clusters. The nodes within one cluster transmit non-orthogonally while the transmissions of different clusters span orthogonal channels.
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