Precoding for the sparsely spread MC-CDMA downlink with discrete-alphabet inputs

Min Li, Chunshan Liu, Stephen V. Hanly

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Sparse signatures have been proposed for the code-division multiple-access (CDMA) uplink to reduce multiuser detection complexity, but they have not yet been fully exploited for its downlink counterpart. In this paper, we propose multicarrier CDMA (MC-CDMA) downlink communication whereby regular sparse signatures are deployed in the frequency domain. Taking the symbol detection point of view, we formulate a problem appropriate for the downlink with discrete alphabets as inputs. The solution to the problem provides a power-efficient precoding algorithm for the base station (BS), subject to minimum symbol error probability (SEP) requirements at the mobile stations (MSs). In the algorithm, signature sparsity is shown to be crucial for reducing precoding complexity. Numerical results confirm system-load-dependent power reduction gain from the proposed precoding over the zero-forcing (ZF) precoding and the regularized ZF (RZF) precoding with optimized regularization parameter under the same SEP targets. For a fixed system load, it is also demonstrated that sparse MC-CDMA with a proper choice of sparsity level attains almost the same power efficiency and link throughput as that of dense MC-CDMA yet with reduced precoding complexity due to the sparse signatures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1116-1129
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Vehicular Technology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2017


  • code-division multiple access (CDMA)
  • discrete alphabets
  • multicarrier CDMA (MC-CDMA)
  • power efficiency
  • precoding
  • sparse signature
  • symbol error probability (SEP)


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