CLUSTERING METHODS FOR DISTRIBUTED SPECTRUM SENSING IN COGNITIVE RADIO SYSTEMS

Amy C. Malady and Claudio R. C. M. da Silva Bradley Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University Blacksburg, VA USA 24061 email: {amalady, cdasilva}@vt.edu ABSTRACT It is known that the reliability of spectrum sensing in cognitive radio systems has the potential to improve when this critical process is performed distributively by multiple radios. In situations in which a large number of cognitive radios are present in a given geographical area, these radios will likely have to be divided into multiple sensing clusters in order to keep bandwidth and power requirements manageable. In this paper, we propose different clustering methods for distributed spectrum sensing and evaluate their performance in terms of sensing reliability and resultant spectrum efficiency. The use of position information by clustering methods is also considered. INTRODUCTION In recent years, the concept of cognitive radios (CRs) introduced a new approach to communication systems that promotes more efficient use of the spectrum [1], [2]. As a result of their distinctive learning and adaptation capabilities, CRs are able to find frequencies unused by a primary user (PU) at a given location and time and dynamically access this spectrum. However, dynamic spectrum access demands that CRs perform, either independently or distributively, reliable and efficient spectrum sensing. If the spectrum sensing estimates are not reliable, spectrum access decisions will be based upon noisy information, which can lead to harmful interference. Given that spectrum utilization is a spatial phenomenon, it is only natural to perform spectrum sensing in a distributed manner. Among other advantages, distributed spectrum sensing has the potential to reduce sensitivity requirements of individual CRs and to minimize the probability of interference due to the hidden node problem [3]. In distributed sensing, each CR obtains relevant information of the spectrum, processes this information, and then shares a “summary” of its sensing with other CRs. We define a set of CRs that perform distributed spectrum sensing as a sensing cluster. Using the summaries, the sensing cluster makes a decision on whether a given frequency band is being used by a PU. Based on this decision, either all CRs
This work was supported in part by a gift from Texas Instruments.
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Fig. 1. Illustration of a cognitive radio network (represented by handheld radios) and a primary user (antenna tower). The grey area represents the “region of potential interference” to the primary user.

in the sensing cluster use (no PU detected) or do not use (PU detected) the band of interest. A number of recent papers (including ours) have proposed different approaches to distributed spectrum sensing, and addressed some of its design and implementation issues. See, among others, [4]-[8]. However, the clustering of CRs in the context of distributed spectrum sensing is an important problem that remains mostly unaddressed. Previous work on clustering and spectrum sensing include [9][11]. Our contribution in this paper is to develop and evaluate different clustering methods that, by exploiting any position information available, result in more reliable and/or efficient spectrum sensing. In addition, we propose and analyze new performance metrics for the evaluation of clustering methods for distributed spectrum sensing. PROBLEM DEFINITION AND PERFORMANCE METRICS When properly designed, the reliability of distributed spectrum sensing is expected to increase with the number of CRs in a sensing cluster [4]-[10]. However, as the number of CRs increases, more bandwidth and power is spent during the exchange of spectrum sensing data, and fusing the sensing summaries from multiple CRs becomes more complex. Also, for the case in which either all or none of the CRs in a sensing cluster access the spectrum (based on the results of their distributed sensing), this increase in the number of CRs might also lead to a larger number of false spectrum access denials, which we define next. Therefore, it might be advantageous to divide the CRs in a given area into multiple sensing clusters [9]-[11]. Consider the scenario shown in Fig. 1. The grey area in

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and. In order to quantify this trade-off. more recently. we consider the following clustering method: • Random clustering – The CRs are divided into a given number of sensing clusters randomly. as each sensing cluster has a smaller number of CRs. . they can still measure relatively high levels of signals from nearby transmitting PUs. given that there are PU transmissions in the area of interest. However. false spectrum access denial would likely not have occurred if the two CRs outside of the RPI formed a sensing cluster by themselves. the CRs are divided into clusters according to their positions with respect to a given reference. For example. Probability of potential interference (PP I ) – Average probability that a CR inside a RPI will access the spectrum because distributed spectrum sensing did not detect the presence of PU transmissions. CRs inside the RPI have the potential to interfere with the PU as a result of a missed detection. the six CRs will not access the licensed spectrum. CRs are clustered according to their relative proximities. it is likely that their distributed sensing will indicate the presence of the PU (since four of the CRs are inside the RPI. [14]. where the PU’s signal is the strongest). for example. In the case in which the position of both the CRs and the PUs is unknown.this figure represents what we define here as the region of potential interference (RPI) of the PU. midtown. These methods are: • Reference-based clustering – In this method. We define this event as a false spectrum access denial. the individual sensing of these two CRs will likely detect very low levels of PU signals. PF SAD . PF A . as an efficient approach for organizing “the The distributed sensing stage might have indicated the presence of PU signals because some of the CRs in the sensing cluster are inside a RPI (and the corresponding PU is transmitting – see Fig. CLUSTERING METHODS The main objective of this paper is to investigate different methods for the division of CRs into a given number of sensing clusters and characterize their performance in terms of PD . In this scenario. • Statistical clustering – The CRs are divided into clusters using a statistical method that takes the relative position of all CRs in the system into account. in the context of ad-hoc and sensor networks (for example. They will not in this case due to the imposed restriction that all CRs of a sensing cluster must reach a consensus on spectrum sensing and access2 . Clustering has been extensively studied in areas such as data compression and pattern classification [13]. given that there are PU transmissions in the area of interest. In this case. However. If the six CRs in Fig. CRs in Manhattan could be divided into three clusters depending on whether they are in downtown. 2009 at 23:10 from IEEE Xplore. or into two clusters depending whether they are on the east or west side of Fifth Avenue. • Probability of false alarm (PF A ) – Average probability that a sensing cluster will indicate the presence of a PU. Restrictions apply. we propose the following performance metrics for the distributed sensing stage: • Probability of detection (PD ) – Average probability that a sensing cluster will detect the presence of a PU. • • area of interest. The methods we consider have different assumptions regarding the information available about the position of the CRs and/or PUs. That is. Therefore. 2 2 of 5 Authorized licensed use limited to: The University of Auckland. We consider two methods for the case in which the position of the CRs is known and of the PUs is unknown. there is a trade-off between spectrum sensing reliability and likelihood of false spectrum access denials when dividing CRs in a given geographical area into sensing clusters. The position information of the CRs could be obtained through the use of GPS or by using one of the many different algorithms available for the localization of the nodes of a wireless network [12]. If this is the case. Downloaded on January 27. the CRs must make spectrum access decisions based only on spectrum sensing. a possible indication that it is safe to use licensed spectrum. 1 form a sensing cluster. 1) or. and PP I . note that the two CRs outside of the RPI normally would be able to access the spectrum even when the PU is communicating. given that there is not a PU transmitting in the 1 In the same way. Probability of false spectrum access denial (PF SAD ) – Average probability that a CR outside a RPI will not access the spectrum because its distributed spectrum sensing indicated the presence of PU transmissions. with the same (or approximately the same) number of CRs per cluster. if all CRs in the sensing cluster are not in any RPI. 1 are far from the PU. or uptown. this paper is mostly concerned with the situation in which CRs do not have information about the PUs’ position (and corresponding RPIs). and a second sensing cluster with the four CRs located inside the RPI. but would be allowed to dynamically access the spectrum if it were not being used by a PU1 . the number of false spectrum access denials would be minimized by forming a sensing cluster with the two CRs outside the RPI. However. given that there is a PU transmitting in the area of interest. this new cluster formation has a lower spectrum sensing reliability. Thus. It is worth noting that because the two CRs outside of the RPI in Fig. CRs not inside any RPIs could access licensed spectrum with no spectrum sensing.

for 1 ≤ i ≤ NS .j sj (1) where ri. In our application. (2) where NS is the number of CRs in the sensing cluster.22 standard. and that this fusion center uses a general linear combination of the form NS r(t) = i=1 ci ri (t). the received signal ri (t) at the ith CR is written as ri (t) = ai s(t − τi ) + Ni ni (t). Downloaded on January 27. However. . the qualitative results obtained here (for clustering in the context of spectrum sensing) are believed to also be valid for the fine sensing stage. only the k (k < K ) closest CRs to the PU perform distributed spectrum sensing. 2009 at 23:10 from IEEE Xplore. When the PU transmits. we consider a scenario in which NCR CRs and where ai and τi are the channel gain and time delay. sends this value (the “summary” of its observation) to a fusion center.e. and Ni is a normalization constant.j = ri (jTs ) and sj = s(jTs ) are time samples of ri (t) and s(t) spaced Ts = 1/2W s apart. We focus our analysis on the fast sensing stage. usually referred to as fine sensing. respectively. feature detection [8]) is performed in order to decrease the false alarm rate and detect the presence of weak signals. the decision is made that there are no PUs using the band. The thermal noise ni (t) is modeled as a zero-mean Gaussian process with power spectral density N0 /2 and bandwidth W Hz. In this paper.g.. (3) Based on this result. Denoting the SNR at the ith CR as ρi . 3 of 5 Authorized licensed use limited to: The University of Auckland. assuming an additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN) channel. respectively. usually referred to as fast (or coarse) sensing. Consider a scenario in which at most one PU transmits at a given location and time. In the derivation of (4). beginning with an initial guess for the centroid of the clusters. it is well known that among all systems of the form (2). A good review (and comparative performance study) of SNR estimation techniques for the AWGN channel is found in [19]. For the case in which the noise processes ni (t) are uncorrelated and the time delays τi in (1) can be tracked (such that the PU signal components in ri (t). and taking τi to be zero (recall the assumption that τi can be tracked). are essentially identical except in amplitude). (Note that spectrum sensing is necessary even if the position of the PU is known because the PU may or may not be communicating in a given instant of time. we consider the following clustering method for the case in which the positions of both the CRs and the PUs are known: • Distance-based clustering – Out of the K CRs in a sensing cluster. then 2) compute the centroids for the new clusters [13].g. for example. In the first stage.network topology for the purpose of balancing the load and prolonging the network lifetime” [15]). ρ = 0 (i. In the k-means method.) SYSTEM DEFINITION The IEEE 802. Lastly. we use the classic k-means clustering method as the statistical clustering method. we assume that each CR estimates the SNR in a given frequency band. Assuming that the signal s(t) in (1) is known and has bandwidth W Hz. a relatively simple sensing technique (e. [14]. energy detection) is used to detect the presence of signals in a given frequency band over a short period of time. In the second stage. the CR-based standard for dynamic spectrum access and sharing of TV bands. the MRC realizes NS ρ= i=1 ρi . the ML estimator for the SNR is given by [20] ρ ˆi = 1 2W T 1 2W T 2W T j =1 2W T j =1 ri. and denote its transmitted signal by s(t). we consider the maximum-likelihood (ML) estimator for SNR derived in [20]. Note that if the estimation process was perfect. a more “detailed” sensing (e. 2 − ri.. divides spectrum sensing into two stages [16]. the following two steps are performed iteratively until a convergence condition is satisfied: 1) the points (CR positions) are assigned to the cluster with the “closest” centroid.j sj 2 2W T j =1 2.. as we assume the CRs’ positions and desired number of clusters to be known. and then the fusion center uses (3). it was assumed that s(t) and ni (t) are normalized to unit power over the observation period T so that a2 i and Ni are the signal and noise powers. respectively.j 1 2W T (4) ri. Let us first assume that the CRs in a sensing cluster transmit their complete observation ri (t) to a “fusion center” (which can either be a dedicated entity responsible for fusing sensing data or one of the CRs). the decision is made that there are PUs using the band. Otherwise. the one that yields maximum signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) of the output signal r(t) is the maximal-ratio combiner (MRC) [18]. [17]. The PU position information could be obtained from databases of regulatory agencies or estimated as part of the spectrum sensing process. −∞ dB) for the case in which no PU transmissions are present. NUMERICAL ANALYSIS To evaluate the performance of the proposed clustering methods. If ρ is greater than a given threshold γ . Restrictions apply.

and PP I are computed for each clustering method by simulation from a number of SNR estimates obtained for each CR using (4). 10 0 All All Probability of False Spectrum Access Denial 10 −1 Probability of Detection 10 −1 10 −2 Individual 10 −3 Individual 10 −2 10 −4 10 −3 10 −2 10 −1 10 0 10 −4 10 −4 10 −3 10 −2 10 −1 10 0 Probability of False Alarm Probability of Potential Interference Fig. Two sets of values for these parameters are considered. Random (solid). For Figs. PF SAD for scenario 2. Assuming a free-space model. For a given scenario realization. In Figs. the cases in which the CRs perform spectrum sensing independently (labeled “individual”) and when the CRs form a single sensing cluster (“all”) are shown for reference. The decision threshold γ is taken to be in the range (−26dB. or on the four quadrants (upper left. Random (solid). We take f and Gl to be equal to 900 MHz and 1. 5. 4. Gl is the product of the transmit and receive antenna field radiation patterns in the LOS direction. 10 0 Fig. one PU are uniformly distributed in a rectangular region of size L × Lm. the RPI is defined to be a circular area of radius 20m around the PU. the probabilities PD . PF SAD . It is seen for both scenarios that the single cluster case provides the best PD for a given PF A . PP I vs. PF A vs. Thus. PD for scenario 1. upper right. PF SAD for scenario 1. positions of CRs and PU). The superior performance of the random clustering method is also due to the fact that while the clusters in this method (5) where f is the signal frequency. statistical (dashed). 2 and 3 for scenarios 1 and 2.10 0 All Probability of False Spectrum Access Denial All 10 −1 Probability of Detection Individual 10 −1 10 −2 10 −3 Individual 10 −2 10 −4 10 −3 10 −2 10 −1 10 0 10 −4 10 −4 10 −3 10 −2 10 −1 10 0 Probability of False Alarm Probability of Potential Interference Fig. and NCR = 20. and lastly all CRs acting individually has the worst performance. statistical (dashed). lower right) 4 of 5 Authorized licensed use limited to: The University of Auckland. and reference-based (dash-dot) clustering methods. PP I vs. as expected. and reference-based (dash-dot) clustering. and c is the speed of light [21]. we take the SNR at the transmitter to be 50 dB. PU distant from all CRs in the cluster) is more likely to happen for the statistical and reference-based methods than for random clustering. the path loss between the PU and a CR at distance dm is given by PL dB = −10 log10 (Gl c)2 / (4πdf )2 . PD for scenario 2. respectively). Fig. Restrictions apply. lower left. . for the four sensing clusters case. Also. followed by the three clustering methods (with 2 and 4 clusters. The receiver operating characteristic (PF A vs. PF A vs. statistical (dashed). L = 100m. Random (solid). It is interesting to note in these figures that the random clustering method outperforms both the statistical and reference-based clustering. 10dB). Note that the CRs in clusters formed by the statistical and referencebased methods are relatively closer to each other than those within the random clusters. and reference-based (dash-dot) clustering. PD ) of the proposed clustering methods are presented in Figs. and 4 sensing clusters (scenario 2). NCR = 10. and reference-based (dash-dot) clustering methods. PF A . respectively. These probabilities are then averaged over multiple scenario realizations (that is. and 2 sensing clusters (scenario 1). 3. L = 200m. 2-6. For the reference-based method. CRs are divided according to whether they are on the left or right sides of the rectangular region for the 2 sensing clusters case. Downloaded on January 27. 2009 at 23:10 from IEEE Xplore. the “worst case scenario” for distributed detection (namely. Random (solid). respectively. statistical (dashed). 4 and 5. 2.

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