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In this paper, we propose a novel approach that combines the multi-rate adaptation and topology management mechanisms so as to provide the highest network throughput under very low control overhead. Under topology management, a connected dominating set (CDS) of the network topology is elected and maintained for routing protocols as the backbone of the network. A MAC protocol using multi-rate transmission capability in the physical media is further applied to provide high network throughput so that a low data-rate wireless link is substituted with a high data-rate two-hop wireless link by employing an intermediate node. The efficiency of the combined optimization algorithms is validated by network performance analysis and extensive simulations with DSR (dynamic source routing) as the routing protocol. The analytical and simulation results demonstrate that our solution significantly reduces the routing control overhead, improves the network data forwarding performance.