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Wireless mesh networks are emerging as a means to provide ubiquitous network connectivity using various radio technologies. In this paper we propose and evaluate a set of distributed algorithms to form a multi-hop relay network to access the backbone in wireless mesh networks. The proposed algorithms include path discovery, frequency allocation, path selection, and local tuning of the resulting relay network. Our results show that the performance of the relay network formed by our algorithms is very close to the optimal performance that the network can achieve.