A system and method are described for dynamically adapting the communication characteristics of a multiple antenna system (MAS) with multi-user (MU) transmissions (“MU-MAS”). For example, a method according to one embodiment of the invention comprises: transmitting a training signal from each antenna of a base station to each of a plurality of wireless client devices, each of the client devices analyzing each training signal to generate channel characterization data, and receiving the channel characterization data at the base station; computing a plurality of MU-MAS precoder weights based on the channel characterization data, the combined MU-MAS precoder weights comprising a MU-MAS channel matrix; determining instantaneous or statistical channel quality (“link quality metric”) for the wireless client devices using mutual information of MU-MAS links or singular values of the MU-MAS composite channel matrix; determining a subset of users and a MU-MAS transmission mode based on the link quality metric; precoding data using the MU-MAS precoder weights to generate precoded data signals for each antenna of the base station; and transmitting the precoded data signals through each antenna of the base station to each respective client device within the selected subset.
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