Published online by Cambridge University Press: 03 May 2011
In this chapter, we consider space-time coding strategies for multiple-relay cooperative systems that effectively harness available spatial diversity. More specifically, the goal is to examine ways to forward signals efficiently from multiple relays to the destination while addressing the important practical issue of synchronization among the relays. We assume a general two-phase transmission protocol as illustrated in Figure 6.1. In the first phase of the protocol, the source broadcasts a message which is received by the relays and (possibly) the destination. During the second transmission phase, a subset of the relays, possibly in conjunction with the source, transmits additional information to the destination. This protocol is useful in practical scenarios where signals received at the destination due to transmissions directly from the source (Phase 1) will not carry enough useful information because of noise, fading, and/or interference.
It is expected that Phase 2 will dramatically increase the reliability of the system, but if the symbols cannot be decoded correctly after the second phase, the protocol can restart by returning to Phase 1 or Phase 2.
The primary problem associated with forwarding information from multiple relays to the destination is determining how the information should be spread out among the relays over space and time. This is analogous to the classic spacetime coding problem in point-to-point multiple-transmit-antenna systems, and so it is often called the distributed space-time coding problem.