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Frame structure is critical to an IEEE 802.16e OFDMA network, as it governs the fundamental channel access in both time and frequency domain. The framework structure design is tremendously complicated in the new Mobile Multi-hop Relay-based (MMR) network architecture, as numerous dimensions of design constraints and challenges have been introduced therein. This paper proposes a simple yet flexible framework based upon the current 802.16e OFDMA frame structure design, which enables multihop operation while still maintaining the backward compatibility with the legacy mobile stations. Further performance evaluation not only demonstrates the capacity improvement an MMR network can achieve based upon the proposed frame structure, but also establishes a more profound understanding on the range extension aspect of a relay network.
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