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This paper deals with protocol design for cognitive cooperative systems with many secondary users. In contrast with previous cognitive configurations, the channel model considered assumes a cluster of secondary users which perform both a sensing process for transmitting opportunities and can relay data for the primary user. Appropriate relaying improves the throughput of the primary users and can increase the transmission opportunities for the cognitive users. Based on different multi-access protocols, the schemes investigated enable relaying either between the primary user and a selected secondary user or between two selected secondary users. This collaboration can be a simple distributed multiple-input single-output transmission of the primary data or a simultaneous transmission of primary and secondary data using Dirty-Paper Coding (DPC).
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