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The distributed queuing MAC protocol for cooperative networks (DQCOOP) is presented in this paper as an innovative MAC protocol designed to coordinate the relay retransmissions in a cooperative automatic retransmission request (C-ARQ) scheme for wireless networks. The distributed cooperative ARQ scheme when the DQCOOP is applied at layer two is compared to an ideal non-cooperative ARQ scheme. Computer simulations show that the relay multiple access problem is efficiently handled by the DQCOOP and the cooperative approach outperforms the traditional non-cooperative ARQ scheme in all cases. In addition, the DQCOOP is compared with an IEEE 802.11-based MAC protocol for C-ARQ schemes, demonstrating improved efficiency.