Medium Access Control Design for Cognitive Radio Networks: A Survey


IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E97-B    No.2    pp.359-374
Publication Date: 2014/02/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1587/transcom.E97.B.359
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Technologies for Effective Utilization of Spectrum White Space)
cognitive radio,  medium access control,  MAC protocol,  dynamic spectrum access,  spectrum sensing,  spectrum access,  spectrum allocation,  spectrum sharing,  spectrum mobility,  control channel,  distributed wireless network,  centralized wireless network,  cooperative sensing,  spectrum underlay,  spectrum overlay,  spectrum interweave,  spectrum handoff,  

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Designing a medium access control (MAC) protocol is a key for implementing any practical wireless network. In general, a MAC protocol is responsible for coordinating users in accessing spectrum resources. Given that a user in cognitive radio(CR) networks do not have priority in accessing spectrum resources, MAC protocols have to perform dynamic spectrum access (DSA) functions, including spectrum sensing, spectrum access, spectrum allocation, spectrum sharing and spectrum mobility, beside conventional control procedure. As a result, designing MAC protocols for CR networks requires more complicated consideration than that needed for conventional/primary wireless network. In this paper, we focus on two major perspectives related to the design of a CR-MAC protocol: dynamic spectrum access functions and network infrastructure. Five DSA functions are reviewed from the point of view of MAC protocol design. In addition, some important factors related to the infrastructure of a CR network including network architecture, control channel management, the number of radios in the CR device and the number of transmission data channels are also discussed. The remaining challenges and open research issues are addressed for future research to aim at obtaining practical CR-MAC protocols.