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In this paper, the authors present relay-assisted transmission as a powerful fading mitigation tool for free-space optical systems operating in atmospheric turbulence channels. They study both serial (i.e., multi-hop transmission) and parallel (i.e., cooperative diversity) relaying encoupled with amplify-and-forward and decode-and-forward modes. They consider an aggregated channel model which takes into account both path-loss and turbulence-induced log-normal fading. Since fading variance is distance-dependent in free-space optical systems, relay-assisted transmission takes advantage of the resulting shorter hops and yields significant performance improvements.
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