Rate Splitting for Multi-Antenna Downlink: Precoder Design and Practical Implementation

Zheng Li, Chencheng Ye, Ying Cui, Sheng Yang, Shlomo Shamai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Rate splitting (RS) is a potentially powerful and flexible technique for multi-antenna downlink transmission. In this paper, we address several technical challenges towards its practical implementation for beyond 5G systems. To this end, we focus on a single-cell system with a multi-antenna base station (BS) and $K$ single-antenna receivers. We consider RS in its most general form with $2^{K}-1$ streams, and joint decoding to fully exploit the potential of RS. First, we investigate the achievable rates under joint decoding and formulate the precoder design problems to maximize a general utility function, or to minimize the transmit power under pre-defined rate targets. Building upon the concave-convex procedure (CCCP), we propose precoder design algorithms for an arbitrary number of users. Our proposed algorithms approximate the intractable non-convex problems with a number of successively refined convex problems, and provably converge to stationary points of the original problems. Then, to reduce the decoding complexity, we consider the optimization of the precoder and the decoding order under successive decoding. Further, we propose a stream selection algorithm to reduce the number of precoded signals. With a reduced number of streams and successive decoding at the receivers, our proposed algorithm can even be implemented when the number of users is relatively large, whereas the complexity was previously considered as prohibitively high in the same setting. Finally, we propose a simple adaptation of our algorithms to account for the imperfection of the channel state information at the transmitter. Numerical results demonstrate that the general RS scheme provides a substantial performance gain as compared to state-of-the-art linear precoding schemes, especially with a moderately large number of users.

Original languageEnglish
Article number9120024
Pages (from-to)1910-1924
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2020


  • Multi-antenna downlink transmission
  • imperfect channel state information at the transmitter's side (CSIT)
  • optimization
  • precoder design
  • rate splitting (RS)
  • stream selection

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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