Performance Analysis of Spectrum Sensing Techniques for Cognitive Radio Systems

  • Ebtihal Gismalla Yousif

Student thesis: Phd


Cognitive radio is a technology that aims to maximize the current usage of the licensed frequency spectrum. Cognitive radio aims to provide services for license-exempt users by making use of dynamic spectrum access (DSA) and opportunistic spectrum sharing strategies (OSS). Cognitive radios are defined as intelligent wireless devices capable of adapting their communication parameters in order to operate within underutilized bands while avoiding causing interference to licensed users. An underused band of frequencies in a specific location or time is known as a spectrum hole. Therefore, in order to locate spectrum holes, reliable spectrum sensing algorithms are crucial to facilitate the evolution of cognitive radio networks.Since a large and growing body of literature has mainly focused into the conventional time domain (TD) energy detector, throughout this thesis the problem of spectrum sensing is investigated within the context of a frequency domain (FD) approach. The purpose of this study is to investigate detection based on methods of nonparametric power spectrum estimation. The considered methods are the periodogram, Bartlett's method, Welch overlapped segments averaging (WOSA) and the Multitaper estimator (MTE). Another major motivation is that the MTE is strongly recommended for the application of cognitive radios. This study aims to derive the detector performance measures for each case. Another aim is to investigate and highlight the main differences between the TD and the FD approaches. The performance is addressed for independent and identically distributed (i.i.d.) Rayleigh channels and the general Rician and Nakagami fading channels. For each of the investigated detectors, the analytical models are obtained by studying the characteristics of the Hermitian quadratic form representation of the decision statistic and the matrix of the Hermitian form is identified. The results of the study have revealed the high accuracy of the derived mathematical models. Moreover, it is found that the TD detector differs from the FD detector in a number of aspects. One principal and generalized conclusion is that all the investigated FD methods provide a reduced probability of false alarm when compared with the TD detector. Also, for the case of periodogram, the probability of sensing errors is independent of the length of observations, whereas in time domain the probability of false alarm is increased when the sample size increases. The probability of false alarm is further reduced when diversity reception is employed. Furthermore, compared to the periodogram, both Bartlett method and Welch method provide better performance in terms of lower probability of false alarm but an increased probability of detection for a given probability of false alarm. Also, the performance of both Bartlett's method and WOSA is sensitive to the number of segments, whereas WOSA is also sensitive to the overlapping factor. Finally, the performance of the MTE is dependent on the number of employed discrete prolate spheroidal (Slepian) sequences, and the MTE outperforms the periodogram, Bartlett's method and WOSA, as it provides the minimal probability of false alarm.
Date of Award1 Aug 2013
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorEmad Alsusa (Supervisor)


  • Integral Transforms
  • Special functions
  • Marcum Q-Function
  • Correlated variables
  • Bivariate Copulas
  • Farlie-Gumbel-Morgenstern system
  • Cognitive Radio
  • Eigen-Analysis
  • The Multitaper estimator
  • Spectrum sensing
  • Hermitian quadratic forms
  • Performance Analysis
  • Nonparamteric Spectrum Estimation
  • Bartlett's method of spectrum estimation
  • Welch Overlapped Segmented Averaging (WOSA)
  • Periodogram

Cite this