Rate-Splitting Multiple Access: Unifying NOMA and SDMA in MISO VLC Channels

Shimaa Naser, Paschalis C. Sofotasios, Lina Bariah, Wael Jaafar, Sami Muhaidat, Mahmoud Al-Qutayri, Octavia A. Dobre

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


The increased proliferation of connected devices requires a development of innovative technologies for the next generation of wireless systems. One of the key challenges, however, is the spectrum scarcity, owing to the unprecedented broadband penetration rate in recent years. Based on this, visible light communication (VLC) has recently emerged as an effective potential solution for enabling high-speed short-range communications. Yet, despite their undoubted advantageous features, VLC systems suffer from several limitations which constraint their capabilities. As a result, several multiple access (MA) techniques, such as space-division multiple access (SDMA) and non-orthogonal multiple access (NOMA), have been considered in VLC networks as an effective approach, among others, to circumvent these limitations. However, despite their achievable multiplexing gain, their overall performance is still limited compared to the overall potential of this technology. Motivated by this, the presented article offers two contributions: firstly, we provide an overview of the key MA technologies used in VLC systems and then we introduce rate-splitting multiple access (RSMA), and discuss its capabilities and potentials in VLC systems. Secondly, through realistic system modeling and simulations of an RSMA-based two-user scenario, we illustrate the flexibility of RSMA as well as its superiority in terms of the achievable weighted sum rate over NOMA and SDMA in the context of VLC. Finally, we discuss technical challenges, open issues, and research directions, along with the offered results and insights that are expected to be useful towards the effective practical realization of RSMA in VLC configurations.

Original languageBritish English
Article number9226406
Pages (from-to)393-413
Number of pages21
JournalIEEE Open Journal of Vehicular Technology
StatePublished - 2020


  • Multiple-input multiple-output
  • non-orthogonal multiple access
  • rate-splitting multiple access
  • space-division multiple access
  • visible light communication


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