Coexistence of Wireless Networks for Shared Spectrum Access


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Virginia Tech


The radio frequency spectrum is not being efficiently utilized partly due to the current policy of allocating the frequency bands to specific services and users. In opportunistic spectrum access (OSA), the ``white spaces'' that are not occupied by primary users (a.k.a. incumbent users) can be opportunistically utilized by secondary users. To achieve this, we need to solve two problems: (i) primary-secondary incumbent protection, i.e., prevention of harmful interference from secondary users to primary users; (ii) secondary-secondary network coexistence, i.e., mitigation of mutual interference among secondary users. The first problem has been addressed by spectrum sensing techniques in cognitive radio (CR) networks and geolocation database services in database-driven spectrum sharing. The second problem is the main focus of this dissertation. To obtain a clear picture of coexistence issues, we propose a taxonomy of heterogeneous coexistence mechanisms for shared spectrum access. Based on the taxonomy, we choose to focus on four typical coexistence scenarios in this dissertation.

Firstly, we study sensing-based OSA, when secondary users are capable of employing the channel aggregation technique. However, channel aggregation is not always beneficial due to dynamic spectrum availability and limited radio capability. We propose a channel usage model to analyze the impact of both primary and secondary user behaviors on the efficiency of channel aggregation. Our simulation results show that user demands in both the frequency and time domains should be carefully chosen to minimize expected cumulative delay.

Secondly, we study the coexistence of homogeneous CR networks, termed as self-coexistence, when co-channel networks do not rely on inter-network coordination. We propose an uplink soft frequency reuse technique to enable globally power-efficient and locally fair spectrum sharing. We frame the self-coexistence problem as a non-cooperative game, and design a local heuristic algorithm that achieves the Nash equilibrium in a distributed manner. Our simulation results show that the proposed technique is mostly near-optimal and improves self-coexistence in spectrum utilization, power consumption, and intra-cell fairness.

Thirdly, we study the coexistence of heterogeneous CR networks, when co-channel networks use different air interface standards. We propose a credit-token-based spectrum etiquette framework that enables spectrum sharing via inter-network coordination. Specifically, we propose a game-auction coexistence framework, and prove that the framework is stable. Our simulation results show that the proposed framework always converges to a near-optimal distributed solution and improves coexistence fairness and spectrum utilization.

Fourthly, we study database-driven OSA, when secondary users are mobile. The use of geolocation databases is inadequate in supporting location-aided spectrum sharing if the users are mobile. We propose a probabilistic coexistence framework that supports mobile users by locally adapting their location uncertainty levels in order to find an appropriate trade-off between interference mitigation effectiveness and location update cost. Our simulation results show that the proposed framework can determine and adapt the database query intervals of mobile users to achieve near-optimal interference mitigation with minimal location updates.



Opportunistic Spectrum Access, Cognitive radio networks, White Space Networks, Shared Spectrum Access, Spectrum Sharing, Network Coexistence