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The required transmission time decreases as the data rate increases on a single link. When broad-casting in an ad hoc radio network, this may not be so, as the number of retransmissions may grow as the data rate increases because of decreased transmission range. Moreover, there is often a non-trivial optimum. To resolve the problem of selecting an appropriate rate in such a network, the authors propose a novel method that is theoretically optimal under certain simplifying conditions. When compared with other rate selection methods under more realistic assumptions, the authors have found it to perform better. It is also easy to implement in a real system.