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Conventional wireless communication systems are designed based on point-to-point links whose performance is limited by the resources of a single transmitter, e.g., power and bandwidth. Cooperative communications on the other hand is an emerging and actively researched class of techniques that enables nodes to increase their performance by harnessing resources from other local neighboring nodes. This paper presents a cooperative communications approach called Extended Communications using Helper Organizations (ECHO) that can increase throughput, communication range, and covertness. One militarily significant benefit, first identified and analyzed in this paper, is that cooperative communications approaches are difficult to geo-locate. A cooperative communications link, such as ECHO, is hard to geo-locate because it appears to the adversary as multiple spatially distributed low power transmissions rather then a single high power source, as in conventional point-to-point communications. This paper introduces the general ECHO approach and presents a theoretical framework for quantifying itpsilas expected performance gains using information theory and estimation theory. ECHO can dramatically improve performance for a variety of military applications including sensor networks, MANETs, SATCOM, and ground based communications.
Date of Conference: 16-19 Nov. 2008