Spectrum Sharing between Radar and Communication Systems

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Virginia Tech

Radio frequency spectrum is a scarce natural resource that is utilized for many services including surveillance, navigation, communication, and broadcasting. Recent years have seen tremendous growth in use of spectrum especially by commercial cellular operators. As a result, cellular operators are experiencing a shortage of radio spectrum to meet bandwidth demands of users. Spectrum sharing is a promising approach to solve the problem of spectrum congestion as it allows cellular operators access to more spectrum in order to satisfy the ever growing bandwidth demands of commercial users. The US spectrum regulatory bodies are working on an initiative to share 150 MHz of spectrum, held by federal agencies, in the 3.5 GHz band with commercial wireless operators. This band is primarily used by radar systems that are critical to national defense. Field tests have shown that spectrum sharing between radars and communication systems require large separation distance in order to protect them from harmful interference. Thus, novel methods are required to ensure spectrum sharing between the two systems without the need of large protection distances.

In order to efficiently share spectrum between radars and communication systems at the same time and in the same geographical area, a novel method is proposed that transforms radar signal in such a way that it does not interfere with communication systems. This is accomplished by projecting the radar signal onto null space of the wireless channel between radar and communication system. In order to understand the effects of the proposed sharing mechanism -- in urban, sub-urban, and littoral areas -- new channel models, specifically, two- and three-dimensional channel models are designed that capture azimuth and elevation angles of communication systems and helps in placing accurate nulls. In addition, interference coming from communication systems into radar receivers is analyzed and radar performance is accessed. Using this information, resource allocation schemes are designed for communication systems that take advantage of the carrier aggregation feature of the LTE-Advanced systems. This further helps in dynamic sharing of spectrum between radars and communication systems. The proposed signal projection approach not only meets radar objectives but also meets spectrum sharing objectives. However, there is a trade-off as signal projection results in some performance degradation for radars. Performance metrics such as probability of target detection, Cramer Rao bound and maximum likelihood estimate of target's angle of arrival, and beampattern of radar are studied for performance degradation. The results show minimal degradation in radar performance and reduction in exclusion zones, thus, showing the efficacy of the proposed approach.

spectrum sharing, MIMO radar, null steering, radar waveform design, channel modeling