Buffer-aided cooperative communications: opportunities and challenges

Nikola Zlatanov, Aissa Ikhlef, Toufiqul Islam, Robert Schober

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

153 Citations (Scopus)


Cooperative communication can increase the throughput and/or extend the coverage of wireless networks. However, in conventional cooperative networks, half-duplex relays transmit and receive under a prefixed schedule, which does not allow them to exploit the best receiving and transmitting channels, thus limiting performance. Recently, new protocols have been proposed that circumvent this problem by making use of the additional flexibility offered by relays with buffers. Compared to conventional relaying protocols, these buffer-aided protocols provide significant gains in terms of throughput, diversity, and signal-to-noise ratio. This article outlines several buffer-aided relaying protocols for different network topologies, including one-way single- and multi-relay networks as well as two-way single-relay networks. Moreover, some practical challenges inherent to buffer-aided relaying, such as increased delay and complexity, and topics for future research are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-153
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Communications Magazine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
Externally publishedYes

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