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Wireless networks and devices have been rapidly gaining popularity over their wired counterparts. This popularity, in turn, has been generating an explosive and ever-increasing demand for, and hence creating a shortage of, the radio spectrum. Existing studies indicate that this foreseen spectrum shortage is not so much due to the scarcity of the radio spectrum, but due to the inefficiency of current spectrum access methods, thus leaving spectrum opportunities along both the time and the frequency dimensions that wireless devices can exploit. Fortunately, recent technological advances have made it possible to build software-defined radios (SDRs) which, unlike traditional radios, can switch from one frequency band to another at little or no cost. We propose a MAC protocol, called Opportunistic Spectrum MAC (OS-MAC), for wireless networks equipped with cognitive radios like SDRs. OS-MAC (1) adaptively and dynamically seeks and exploits opportunities in both licensed and unlicensed spectra and along both the time and the frequency dimensions; (2) accesses and shares spectrum among different unlicensed and licensed users; and (3) coordinates with other unlicensed users for better spectrum utilization. Using extensive simulation, OS-MAC is shown to be far more effective than current access protocols from both the network's and the user's perspectives.
Spectrum agility, opportunistic spectrum access, MAC protocols, software-defined radios, cognitive networks.

B. Hamdaoui and K. G. Shin, "OS-MAC: An Efficient MAC Protocol for Spectrum-Agile Wireless Networks," in IEEE Transactions on Mobile Computing, vol. 7, no. , pp. 915-930, 2007.
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