Abstract — We introduce space–time block coding, a new paradigm for communication over Rayleigh fading channels using multiple transmit antennas. Data is encoded using a space–time block code and the encoded data is split into � streams which are simultaneously transmitted using � transmit antennas. The received signal at each receive antenna is a linear superposition of the � transmitted signals perturbed by noise. Maximumlikelihood decoding is achieved in a simple way through decoupling of the signals transmitted from different antennas rather than joint detection. This uses the orthogonal structure of the space–time block code and gives a maximum-likelihood decoding algorithm which is based only on linear processing at the receiver. Space–time block codes are designed to achieve the maximum diversity order for a given number of transmit and receive antennas subject to the constraint of having a simple decoding algorithm. The classical mathematical framework of orthogonal designs is applied to construct space–time block codes. It is shown that space–time block codes constructed in this way only exist for few sporadic values of �. Subsequently, a generalization of orthogonal designs is shown to provide space–time block codes for both real and complex constellations for any number of transmit antennas. These codes achieve the maximum possible transmission rate for any number of transmit antennas using any arbitrary real constellation such as PAM. For an arbitrary complex constellation such as PSK and QAM, space–time block codes are designed that achieve IaP of the maximum possible transmission rate for any number of transmit antennas. For the specific cases of two, three, and four transmit antennas, space–time block codes are designed that achieve, respectively, all, QaR, and QaR of maximum possible transmission rate using arbitrary complex constellations. The best tradeoff between the decoding delay and the number of transmit antennas is also computed and it is shown that many of the codes presented here are optimal in this sense as well. Index Terms — Codes, diversity, multipath channels, multiple antennas, wireless communication.