To Code or Not To Code in Multi-Hop Relay Channels



Rahul Vaze and Robert. W. Heath Jr.


IEEE Trans. on Signal Processing , vol. 57, no. 7, pp. 2736-2747, July 2009.


Multi-hop relay channels use multiple relay stages, each with multiple relay nodes, to facilitate communication between a source and destination. Previously, distributed space-time coding was used to maximize diversity gain. Assuming a low-rate feedback link from the destination to each relay stage and the source, this paper proposes end-to-end antenna selection strategies as an alternative to distributed space-time coding. One-way (where only the source has data for destination) and two-way (where the destination also has data for the source) multi-hop relay channels are considered with both the full-duplex and half duplex relay nodes. End-to-end antenna selection strategies are designed and proven to achieve maximum diversity gain by using a single antenna path (using single antenna of the source, each relay stage and the destination) with the maximum signal-to-noise ratio at the destination. For the half-duplex case, two single antenna paths with the two best signal-to-noise ratios in alternate time slots are used to overcome the rate loss with half-duplex nodes, with a small diversity gain penalty. Finally to answer the question, whether to code (distributed space-time code) or not (the proposed end-to-end antenna selection strategy) in a multi-hop relay channel, end-to-end antenna selection strategy and distributed space-time coding is compared with respect to several important performance metrics.