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In a cooperative multiple-antenna downlink cellular network, maximization of a concave function of user rates is considered. A new linear precoding technique called soft interference nulling (SIN) is proposed, which performs at least as well as zero-forcing (ZF) beamforming. All base stations share channel state information, but each user's message is only routed to those that participate in the user's coordination cluster. SIN precoding is particularly useful when clusters of limited sizes overlap in the network, in which case traditional techniques such as dirty paper coding or ZF do not directly apply. The SIN precoder is computed by solving a sequence of convex optimization problems. SIN under partial network coordination can outperform ZF under full network coordination at moderate SNRs. Under overlapping coordination clusters, SIN precoding achieves considerably higher throughput compared to myopic ZF, especially when the clusters are large.
Date of Publication: December 2010