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It is well known that IEEE 802.11 provides a physical layer multirate capability and, hence, MAC layer mechanisms are needed to exploit this capability. Several solutions have been proposed to achieve this goal. However, these solutions only consider how to exploit good channel quality for the direct link between the sender and the receiver. Since IEEE 802.11 supports multiple transmission rates in response to different channel conditions, data packets may be delivered faster through a relay node than through the direct link if the direct link has low quality and low rate. In this paper, we propose a novel MAC layer relay-enabled distributed coordination function (DCF) protocol, called rDCF, to further exploit the physical layer multirate capability. We design a protocol to assist the sender, the relay node, and the receiver to reach an agreement on which data rate to use and whether to transmit the data through a relay node. Considering various issues, such as, bandwidth utilization, channel errors, and security, we propose techniques to further improve the performance of rDCF. Simulation results show that rDCF can significantly reduce the packet delay, improve the system throughput, and alleviate the impact of channel errors on fairness.
IEEE 802.11, MAC, wireless networks.

G. Cao and H. Zhu, "rDCF: A Relay-Enabled Medium Access Control Protocol for Wireless Ad Hoc Networks," in IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, vol. 5, no. , pp. 1201-1214, 2006.
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