Leveraging Cognitive Radio Networks Using Heterogeneous Wireless Channels
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The popularity of ubiquitous Internet services has spurred the fast growth of wireless communications by launching data hungry multimedia applications to mobile devices. Powered by spectrum agile cognitive radios, the newly emerged cognitive radio networks (CRN) are proposed to provision the efficient spectrum reuse to improve spectrum utilization. Unlicensed users in CRN, or secondary users (SUs), access the temporarily idle channels in a secondary and opportunistic fashion while preventing harmful interference to licensed primary users (PUs). To effectively detect and exploit the spectrum access opportunities released from a wide spectrum, the heterogeneous wireless channel characteristics and the underlying prioritized spectrum reuse features need to be considered in the protocol design and resource management schemes in CRN, which plays a critical role in unlicensed spectrum sharing among multiple users. The purpose of this dissertation is to address the challenges of utilizing heterogeneous wireless channels in CRN by its intrinsic dynamic and diverse natures, and build the efficient, scalable and, more importantly, practical dynamic spectrum access mechanisms to enable the cost-effective transmissions for unlicensed users. Note that the spectrum access opportunities exhibit the diversity in the time/frequency/space domain, secondary transmission schemes typically follow three design principles including 1) utilizing local free channels within short transmission range, 2) cooperative and opportunistic transmissions, and 3) effectively coordinating transmissions in varying bandwidth. The entire research work in this dissertation casts a systematic view to address these principles in the design of the routing protocols, medium access control (MAC) protocols and radio resource management schemes in CRN. Specifically, as spectrum access opportunities usually have small spatial footprints, SUs only communicate with the nearby nodes in a small area. Thus, multi-hop transmissions in CRN are considered in this dissertation to enable the connections between any unlicensed users in the network. CRN typically consist of intermittent links of varying bandwidth so that the decision of routing is closely related with the spectrum sensing and sharing operations in the lower layers. An efficient opportunistic cognitive routing (OCR) scheme is proposed in which the forwarding decision at each hop is made by jointly considering physical characteristics of spectrum bands and diverse activities of PUs in each single band. Such discussion on spectrum aware routing continues coupled with the sensing selection and contention among multiple relay candidates in a multi-channel multi-hop scenario. An SU selects the next hop relay and the working channel based upon location information and channel usage statistics with instant link quality feedbacks. By evaluating the performance of the routing protocol and the joint channel and route selection algorithm with extensive simulations, we determine the optimal channel and relay combination with reduced searching complexity and improved spectrum utilization. Besides, we investigate the medium access control (MAC) protocol design in support of multimedia applications in CRN. To satisfy the quality of service (QoS) requirements of heterogeneous applications for SUs, such as voice, video, and data, channels are selected to probe for appropriate spectrum opportunities based on the characteristics and QoS demands of the traffic along with the statistics of channel usage patterns. We propose a QoS-aware MAC protocol for multi-channel single hop scenario where each single SU distributedly determines a set of channels for sensing and data transmission to satisfy QoS requirements. By analytical model and simulations, we determine the service differentiation parameters to provision multiple levels of QoS. We further extend our discussion of dynamic resource management to a more practical deployment case. We apply the experiences and skills learnt from cognitive radio study to cellular communications. In heterogeneous cellular networks, small cells are deployed in macrocells to enhance link quality, extend network coverage and offload traffic. As different cells focus on their own operation utilities, the optimization of the total system performance can be analogue to the game between PUs and SUs in CRN. However, there are unique challenges and operation features in such case. We first present challenging issues including interference management, network coordination, and interworking between cells in a tiered cellular infrastructure. We then propose an adaptive resource management framework to improve spectrum utilization and mitigate the co-channel interference between macrocells and small cells. A game-theory-based approach is introduced to handle power control issues under constrained control bandwidth and limited end user capability. The inter-cell interference is mitigated based upon orthogonal transmissions and strict protection for macrocell users. The research results in the dissertation can provide insightful lights on flexible network deployment and dynamic spectrum access for prioritized spectrum reuse in modern wireless systems. The protocols and algorithms developed in each topic, respectively, have shown practical and efficient solutions to build and optimize CRN.