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The combination of vertical Bell Labs layered space time (V-BLAST) and space time block coding (STBC), known as a Layered STBC (LSTBC) system, offers high spectral efficiency with a higher order of diversity. The system structure, computational complexity and error performance of the V-BLAST and LSTBC multiple-input multiple-output orthogonal frequency division multiplexing systems are analysed and compared. It is shown that, compared with V-BLAST, the overall diversity order of LSTBC increases two fold. This diversity gain is achieved at the expense of a four-fold increase in the computational complexity of the QR decomposition (QRD) algorithm, required at the receiver of both LSTBC and V-BLAST. The authors propose a modified QRD algorithm which reduces this four-fold complexity to two fold.