Maximizing the Utility of Radio Spectrum: Broadband Spectrum Measurements and Occupancy Model for Use by Cognitive Radio

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Petrin, Allen John
Steffes, Paul G.
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Radio spectrum is a vital national asset; proper management of this finite resource is essential to the operation and development of telecommunications, radio-navigation, radio astronomy, and passive remote sensing services. To maximize the utility of the radio spectrum, knowledge of its current usage is beneficial. As a result, several spectrum studies have been conducted in urban Atlanta, suburban Atlanta, and rural North Carolina. These studies improve upon past spectrum studies by resolving spectrum usage by nearly all its possible parameters: frequency, time, polarization, azimuth, and location type. The continuous frequency range from 400MHz to 7.2 GHz was measured with a custom-designed system. More than 8 billion spectrum measurements were taken over several months of observation. A multi-parameter spectrum usage detection method was developed and analyzed with data from the spectrum studies. This method was designed to exploit all the characteristics of spectral information that was available from the spectrum studies. Analysis of the spectrum studies showed significant levels of underuse. The level of spectrum usage in time and azimuthal space was determined to be only 6.5 % for the urban Atlanta, 5.3 % for suburban Atlanta, and 0.8 % for the rural North Carolina spectrum studies. Most of the frequencies measured never experienced usage. Interference was detected in several protected radio astronomy and sensitive radio navigation bands. A cognitive radio network architecture to share spectrum with fixed microwave systems was developed. The architecture uses a broker-based sharing method to control spectrum access and investigate interference issues.
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