In this paper, we investigate the cooperative diversity technique as a candidate solution for combating turbulence-induced fading over free-space optical (FSO) links. In particular, we propose a novel cooperation strategy that is suitable for quantum-limited FSO systems with any number of relays and we derive closed-form expressions for the error performance of this strategy. In scenarios where the channel-state-information (CSI) is available at the different nodes, we propose an optimal power allocation strategy that satisfies the Karush-Kuhn-Tucker (KKT) conditions and that further boosts the performance of FSO networks. It turned out that this closed-form optimal solution corresponds to transmitting the entire optical power along the “strongest link” between the source and the destination nodes. A simple procedure is proposed for selecting this link and for distributing the power among its different hops.
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