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Achievable Rates and Scaling Laws for Cognitive Radio Channels


Cognitive radios have the potential to vastly improve communication over wireless channels. We outline recent information theoretic results on the limits of primary and cognitive user communication in single and multiple cognitive user scenarios. We first examine the achievable rate and capacity regions of single user cognitive channels. Results indicate that at medium SNR (0–20 dB), the use of cognition improves rates significantly compared to the currently suggested spectral gap-filling methods of secondary spectrum access. We then study another information theoretic measure, the multiplexing gain. This measure captures the number of point-to-point Gaussian channels contained in a cognitive channel as the SNR tends to infinity. Next, we consider a cognitive network with a single primary user and multiple cognitive users. We show that with single-hop transmission, the sum capacity of the cognitive users scales linearly with the number of users. We further introduce and analyze the primary exclusive radius, inside of which primary receivers are guaranteed a desired outage performance. These results provide guidelines when designing a network with secondary spectrum users.

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Correspondence to Natasha Devroye.

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Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Devroye, N., Vu, M. & Tarokh, V. Achievable Rates and Scaling Laws for Cognitive Radio Channels. J Wireless Com Network 2008, 896246 (2007).

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