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In this paper, the authors investigate the benefit of network coding over routing for multiple independent unicast transmissions. They compare the maximum achievable throughput with network coding and that with routing only. They show that the result depends crucially on the network model. In directed networks, or in undirected networks with integral routing requirement, network coding may outperform routing. In undirected networks with fractional routing, they show that the potential for network coding to increase achievable throughput is equivalent to the potential of network coding to increase bandwidth efficiency, both of which they conjecture to be non-existent.
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