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For a long time, store-and-forward had been the transport mode in network communications. In other words, information had been regarded as a commodity that only needs to be routed through the network, possibly with replication at the intermediate nodes. In the late 1990's, a new concept called network coding fundamentally changed the way a network can be operated. Under the paradigm of network coding, information can be processed within the network for the purpose of transmission. It was demonstrated that compared with store-and-forward, the network throughput can generally be increased by employing network coding.
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