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Multiuser downlink beamforming under quality of service (QoS) constraints has attracted considerable interest in years, because it is particularly appealing from a network operator's perspective (e.g., UMTS, 802.16e). When there are many co-channel users and/or the service constraints are stringent, the problem becomes infeasible and some form of admission control is necessary. We advocate a cross-layer approach to joint multiuser transmit beamforming and admission control, aiming to maximize the number of users that can be served at their desired QoS. It is shown that the core problem is NP-hard, yet amenable to convex approximation tools. Two computationally efficient convex approximation algorithms are proposed: one is based on semidefinite relaxation of an equivalent problem reformulation; the other takes a penalized second-order cone approach. Their performance is assessed in a range of experiments, using both simulated and measured channel data. In all experiments considered, the proposed algorithms work remarkably well in terms of the attained performance-complexity trade-off, consistently exhibiting close to optimal performance at an affordable computational complexity.