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In this paper, we consider transmission in relatively wide-stretched power line communication (PLC) networks, where repeaters are required to bridge the source-to-destination distance. In particular, it is assumed that each network node is a potential repeater and that multihop transmission is accomplished in an ad hoc fashion without the need for complex routing protocols. In such a scenario, due to the broadcasting nature of the power line channel, multiple repeater nodes may receive and retransmit the source message simultaneously. It is shown that, if no further signal processing is applied at the transmitter, simultaneous retransmission often deteriorates performance compared with single-node retransmission. We therefore advocate the application of distributed space-time block codes (DSTBCs) to the problem at hand. More specifically, we propose that each network node is assigned a unique signature sequence, which allows efficient combining at the receiver. Most notably, DSTBC-based retransmission does not require explicit collaboration among network nodes for multihop transmission and detection complexity is not increased compared with single-node retransmission. Numerical results for multihop transmission over PLC networks show that DSTBC-based retransmission achieves a considerably improved performance in terms of required transmit power and multihop delay compared with alternative retransmission strategies.
Date of Publication: July 2006