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Designing a wireless network is always challenging because of the harsh environment of wireless channels. While significant progress has been made over the last decade, most of the techniques were developed and optimized based on the point-to-point communication model. Recently, the cooperative communication model has attracted a lot of attention due to the fact that it may achieve significantly better performance than the traditional wireless network models. In this article we develop a generic wireless network design framework based on physical layer network coding as a novel cooperation technique. In this framework several transmitters in a cooperative network may transmit signals simultaneously to the same receiver to improve overall performance. The topics addressed in this article include network capacity, modulation, channel coding, and security issues from a viewpoint fundamentally different from the traditional communication models.