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Cooperative relaying introduces spatial diversity through the creation of a virtual antenna array. The vast majority of the research in digital cooperative relaying assumes the modulation level used by both the source and relay to be the same. This assumption does not necessarily hold when adaptive modulation is implemented. In conventional selection combining, the branch with the highest SNR is chosen; the authors refer to this scheme as SNR-based Selection Combining (SNR-SC). In this paper, they introduce BER-based Selection Combining (BER-SC), as an alternative to SNR-SC, to be used in cooperative communications when a relay may use a modulation level different than that of the source.
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