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In this paper, we introduce a new approach to the minimum energy routing (MER) for next generation (NG) multihop wireless networks. We remove the widely used assumption of deterministic, distance-based channel model is removed, and analyze the potentials of MER within the context of the realistic channel model, accounting for shadowing and fading. Rather than adopting the conventional unrealistic assumption of perfect power control in a distributed multihop environment, we propose to exploit inherent spatial diversity of mobile terminals (MT) in NG multi-hop networks and to combat fading using transmit diversity. We propose the cooperation among MTs, whereby couples of MTs cooperate with each other in order to transmit the signal using two MTs as two transmit antennas. We provide the analytical framework for the performance analysis of this scheme in terms of the feasibility and achievable transmit power reduction. Our simulation result indicate that significant gains can be achieved in terms of the reduction of total transmit power and extension of network lifetime. These gains are in the range of 20–100% for the total transmit power, and 25–90% for the network lifetime, depending on the desired error probability. We show that our analytical results provide excellent match with our simulation results. The messaging load generated by our scheme is moderate, and can be further optimized. Our approach opens the way to a new family of channel-aware routing schemes for multihop NG wireless networks in fading channels. It is particularly suitable for delivering multicast/geocast services in these networks.