The world has witnessed the development of many wireless systems and applications. In addition to the large number of existing devices, such development of new and advanced wireless systems increases rapidly the demand for more radio spectrum. The radio spectrum is a limited natural resource; however, it has been observed that it is not efficiently utilized. Consequently, different dynamic spectrum access techniques have been proposed as solutions for such an inefficient use of the spectrum. Cognitive Radio (CR) is a promising intelligent technology that can identify the unoccupied portions of spectrum and opportunistically uses those portions with satisfyingly high capacity and low interference to the primary users (i.e., licensed users). The CR can be distinguished from the classical radio systems mainly by its awareness about its surrounding radio frequency environment. The spectrum sensing task is the main key for such awareness. Due to many advantages, Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing system (OFDM) has been proposed as a potential candidate for the CR‟s physical layer. Additionally, the Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) in an OFDM receiver supports the performance of a wide band spectrum analysis. Multitaper spectrum estimation method (MTM) is a non-coherent promising spectrum sensing technique. It tolerates problems related to bad biasing and large variance of power estimates. This thesis focuses, generally, on the local, multi antenna based, and global cooperative spectrum sensing techniques at physical layer in OFDM-based CR systems. It starts with an investigation on the performance of using MTM and MTM with singular value decomposition in CR networks using simulation. The Optimal MTM parameters are then found. The optimal MTM based detector theoretical formulae are derived. Different optimal and suboptimal multi antenna based spectrum sensing techniques are proposed to improve the local spectrum sensing performance. Finally, a new concept of cooperative spectrum sensing is introduced, and new strategies are proposed to optimize the hard cooperative spectrum sensing in CR networks. The MTM performance is controlled by the half time bandwidth product and number of tapers. In this thesis, such parameters have been optimized using Monte Carlo simulation. The binary hypothesis test, here, is developed to ensure that the effect of choosing optimum MTM parameters is based upon performance evaluation. The results show how these optimal parameters give the highest performance with minimum complexity when MTM is used locally at CR. The optimal MTM based detector has been derived using Neyman-Pearson criterion. That includes probabilities of detection, false alarm and misses detection approximate derivations in different wireless environments. The threshold and number of sensed samples controlling is based on this theoretical work. In order to improve the local spectrum sensing performance at each CR, in the CR network, multi antenna spectrum sensing techniques are proposed using MTM and MTM with singular value decomposition in this thesis. The statistical theoretical formulae of the proposed techniques are derived including the different probabilities. ii The proposed techniques include optimal, that requires prior information about the primary user signal, and two suboptimal multi antenna spectrum sensing techniques having similar performances with different computation complexity; these do not need prior information about the primary user signalling. The work here includes derivations for the periodogram multi antenna case. Finally, in hard cooperative spectrum sensing, the cooperation optimization is necessary to improve the overall performance, and/or minimize the number of data to be sent to the main CR-base station. In this thesis, a new optimization method based on optimizing the number of locally sensed samples at each CR is proposed with two different strategies. Furthermore, the different factors that affect the hard cooperative spectrum sensing optimization are investigated and analysed and a new cooperation scheme in spectrum sensing, the master node, is proposed.

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