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Channel variability and a high level of ambient noise lead to significant probability of packet loss in many underwater networks. Techniques based on acknowledgements and re-transmissions (such as ARQ) can be used to build robust networks over the unreliable links between underwater nodes. An alternative solution based on erasure codes can also be used to combat the packet loss. However, both solutions rely on a node re-transmitting information originating at that node. The authors propose an alternative solution based on network coding, where nodes transmit packets which are composed partially from information originating at that node, and partially from information received by that node from other nodes.
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