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In this paper we propose an enhanced relay-enabled distributed coordination function (rDCF) for wireless ad hoc networks. The idea of rDCF is to use high data rate nodes to work as relays for the low data rate nodes. The relay helps to increase the throughput and lower overall blocking time of nodes due to faster dual-hop transmission. rDCF achieves higher throughput over IEEE 802.11 distributed coordination function (DCF). The protocol is further enhanced for higher throughput and reduced energy. These enhancements result from the use of a dynamic preamble (i.e. using short preamble for the relay transmission) and also by reducing unnecessary overhearing (by other nodes not involved in transmission). We have modeled the energy consumption of rDCF, showing that rDCF provides an energy efficiency of 21.7% at 50 nodes over 802.11 DCF. Compared with the existing rDCF, the enhanced rDCF (ErDCF) scheme proposed in this paper yields a throughput improvement of 16.54% (at the packet length of 1000 bytes) and an energy saving of 53% at 50 nodes.