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A common and practical paradigm in cooperative communication systems is the use of a dynamically selected "best" relay to decode and forward information from a source to a destination. Such systems use two phases - a relay selection phase, in which the system uses transmission time and energy to select the best relay, and a data transmission phase, in which it uses the spatial diversity benefits of selection to transmit data. In this paper, we derive closed-form expressions for the overall throughput and energy consumption, and study the time and energy trade-off between the selection and data transmission phases. To this end, we analyze a baseline non-adaptive system and several adaptive systems that adapt the selection phase, relay transmission power, or transmission time. Our results show that while selection yields significant benefits, the selection phase's time and energy overhead can be significant. In fact, at the optimal point, the selection can be far from perfect, and depends on the number of relays and the mode of adaptation. The results also provide guidelines about the optimal system operating point for different modes of adaptation. The analysis also sheds new insights on the fast splitting-based algorithm considered in this paper for relay selection.
Date of Publication: August 2010