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This paper reviews the characteristics of overlay networks and defines effective relay nodes that can improve the performance of interactive real-time applications. A heuristic relay node selection algorithm for overlay routing is proposed. The algorithm can find effective relay nodes for end-to-end links in an overlay network, and is scalable and robust due to its decentralization and randomization. Based on the simulation results, the algorithm is able to maintain a good performance when 40% end nodes in an overlay network encounter failures.