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15, 2008


Blindly Combined Energy Detection for Spectrum Sensing in Cognitive Radio

Yonghong Zeng, Ying-Chang Liang, and Rui Zhang
AbstractIn this letter, a method is proposed to optimally combine the received signal samples in space and time based on the principle of maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). After the combining, energy detection (ED) is used. However, optimal combining needs information of the source signal and channel, which is usually unknown. To overcome this difculty, a method is proposed to blindly combine the signal samples. Similar to energy detection, blindly combined energy detection (BCED) does not need any information of the source signal and the channel a priori. BCED can be much better than ED for highly correlated signals, and most importantly, it does not need noise power estimation and overcomes EDs susceptibility to noise uncertainty. Also, perfect synchronization is not required. Simulations based on wireless microphone signals and randomly generated signals are presented to verify the methods. Index TermsCognitive radio, sensing algorithm, signal detection, spectrum sensing.

I. INTRODUCTION ONVENTIONAL xed spectrum allocation policy leads to low spectrum usage in many of the frequency bands. A cognitive radio, which is aware of its environment and can make decisions about its radio operating behavior based on that information, is a promising technology to exploit the under-utilized spectrum in an opportunistic manner [1]. One application of cognitive radio is opportunistically using the spectrum allocated/licensed to the primary users when they are not active. To do so, the secondary users are required to frequently perform spectrum sensing, i.e., detecting the presence of the primary users. One communication system using this concept is the IEEE 802.22 wireless regional area networks (WRAN) [2], which operates on the VHF/UHF bands that are currently allocated for TV broadcasting services and other services such as wireless microphone. Spectrum sensing is a fundamental task for cognitive radio. However, there are several factors which make spectrum sensing practically challenging. First, signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) may be very low. For example, wireless microphones operating in TV bands only transmit signals with a power of about 50 MW and a bandwidth of 200 kHz. If secondary users are several hundred meters away from the microphone devices, dB. Secondly, multithe received SNR may be well below path fading and time dispersion of wireless channels complicate the sensing problem. Multipath fading may cause signal power to uctuate as much as 30 dB. On the other hand, unknown time

Manuscript received February 20, 2008; revised May 08, 2008. The associate editor coordinating the review of this manuscript and approving it for publication was Dr. Gerald Matz. The authors are with the Institute for Infocomm Research, A*STAR, Singapore (e-mail:;; Digital Object Identier 10.1109/LSP.2008.2002711

dispersed channel turns coherent detections unreliable. Thirdly, noise/interference level may change with time and location, which yields noise uncertainty [3][5]. Quite a few sensing methods have been proposed, including likelihood ratio test (LRT) [6], energy detection (ED) [3], [4], [6], [7], matched ltering (MF)-based methods [4], [8], cyclostationary detection (CSD) method [9], [10], and periodogrambased methods [11], each of which has different requirements and advantages/disadvantages. While LRT is the best, it needs the distribution of source signal and noise, which is practically intractable. MF-based methods require perfect knowledge of the channel responses from the primary user to the receiver and accurate synchronization (otherwise, its performance will be reduced dramatically) [12], [8]. This may not be possible if there is no cooperation between the primary and secondary users. CSD needs to know the cyclic frequencies of the primary signals, which may not be realistic for many applications. Furthermore, it demands excessive analog to digital converter (ADC) requirement and signal processing capabilities [4]. ED, unlike the other three methods, does not require any information of the source signal and is robust to unknown dispersed channel and fading. It is optimal for detecting independent and identically distributed (iid) signals [6], but it is not optimal for detecting correlated signals. In this letter, we propose a method to use ED after optimally combining the received signal samples in space and time based on the principle of maximizing the signal-to-noise ratio (SNR). However, optimal combining requires information of the source signal and channel, which is usually unknown. To overcome this difculty, we nd a method to blindly combine the signal samples. The blindly combined energy detection (BCED), like ED, does not need any information of the source signal and the channel a priori and is better than ED for correlated signals. Most importantly, it does not need noise power estimation and overcomes EDs susceptibility to noise uncertainty. Simulations based on wireless microphone signals and iid signals are presented to verify the method. The rest of this letter is organized as follows. The system model is described in Section II. The optimally combined energy detection (OCED) is presented in Section III. Section IV gives the blindly combined energy detection. Simulation results are given in Section V. Conclusions are drawn in Section VI. Some notations are used as follows: boldface capital and small letters are used to denote matrices and vectors, respectively; superscript stands for transpose; denotes the stands for expectation identity matrix of order ; and operation. II. SYSTEM MODEL We assume that there are antennas at the receiver, and we exploit the received signals from these antennas for spectrum

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sensing. There are two hypotheses: , signal absent; and signal present. The received signal at antenna is given by

, (6) (1) (2) (7) The hypothesis testing problem of interest is therefore (8) (9) rows to combine In general, we can choose a matrix with the signal at all antennas and the time samples as (10) The combining matrix should be chosen such that the resultant signal has the largest SNR. It is obvious that the SNR after combining is (11) is the mathematical expectation. Hence, the optimal where . Let combining matrix should maximize the cost function be the statistical covariance matrices of the primary signals. It can be veried that (12) where is the noise power and is the trace of a matrix. be the maximum eigenvalue of and be the corLet responding eigenvector. Theorem 1: The optimal combining matrix is the vector . Proof: Based on the property of trace and an inequality in [14], we have (13) (4) (14) (15) (16) denotes the th largest eigenvalue of a matrix. It is where obvious that (17) Therefore (18)

is the received signal component (reIn hypothesis ceived source signal) by antenna , which includes multipath can be further written as and fading effects. In general, (3) where is the number of primary user/antenna signals, is the transmitted signal (source signal) from primary user/anis the propagation channel from user/antenna tenna to receiver antenna , and is the channel order. Since all are generated from the same source signals, are correlated in , and in if the channel has multipath or the are correlated in time. It is astransmitted signal samples s are iid for and . For simplicity, we assume sumed that that the signal, noise, and channel coefcients are real numbers. The performance of a sensing algorithm is generally indicated by two probabilities. Probability of detection, , denes, at the , the probability of the sensing algorithm having hypothesis detected the presence of the primary signal. Probability of false , denes, at the hypothesis , the probability of the alarm, sensing algorithm claiming the presence of the primary signal. A good sensing algorithm means that, for a given sample size, and low . it achieves high III. OPTIMALLY COMBINED ENERGY DETECTION (OCED) The simplest and most straightforward approach to use energy detection is to average the signal power at all antennas and be the average power of the reall time instances. Let ceived signals, that is,

is the number of samples. Energy detection compares with noise power to decide the signal presence. If and the source signal samples are iid, energy detection actually achieves the best performance [6], given that the and assume that actual noise power is known. If and known to the propagation channels are at fading the receiver, the energy at different antennas can be coherently combined to obtain a better detection [13]. However, in practice, the channels usually have multipath and the channel coefcients are unknown at the receiver. As a result, the method in [13] is not applicable. Theoretically the best method is the likelihood ratio test (LRT) [6]. However, LRT needs the exact distribution of source signal (distorted by unknown multipath and fading) and noise, which is practically intractable. antennas and time Let us stack the signals from the vectors: samples, and dene the following where

Upon substituting detection is

into (10), the test statistic for energy





It is easy to show that this is better than test statistic in terms of SNR. In fact, it can be veried that (20) The SNR of is (21) We know that . Hence, the SNR of is not larger than the SNR of . That means is better than . and the propagation channels are at If . fading, OCED turns to the method in [13] by choosing IV. BLINDLY COMBINED ENERGY DETECTION (BCED) OCED needs an eigenvector of the received source signal covariance matrix, which is usually unknown. To overcome this difculty, we will give a method to estimate the eigenvector using the received signal samples only. Considering the statistical covariance matrices of the signal dened as (22) we can verify that (23) and have the same eigenvectors. Hence, vector is also corresponding to the maximum eigenthe eigenvector of value. However, in practice, we do not know the statistical coeither, and therefore, we cannot get vector variance matrices . An approximation of the statistical covariance matrix is the sample covariance matrix dened as (24) Let (normalized to ) be the eigenvector of the sample covariance matrix corresponding to the maximum eigenby . Let value. We can replace the combining vector (25) Then the test statistics for the blindly combined energy detection (BCED) is (26) It can be veried that (27) (28) (29) (30)


is the maximum eigenvalue of . Thus, can be calculated as the maximum eigenvalue of the sample covariance matrix. To make a decision, we need two statistics for comparison. While there are different choices for the other statistic, we can use the received signal power for the purpose. Finally, BCED is summarized as follows. Algorithm 1: Blindly combined energy detection Step 1) Compute the sample covariance matrix of the received signal

Step 2) Obtain the maximum eigenvalue of and denote it as . . Step 3) Compute Step 4) Decision: if , signal exists (yes decision); otherwise, signal does not exist (no decision), where is a threshold. Note that here is not related to noise power. is only related and sample size . Its to the probability of false alarm value can be predetermined through simulation for any xed and . Remark: Both BCED and ED only use the received signal samples for detection, and no information on the transmitted signal and channel is needed. The major advantages of BCED over ED are as follows: ED needs the noise power for decision while BCED does not, and BCED can achieve better performance for highly correlated signals. V. SIMULATIONS AND DISCUSSIONS For the proposed methods OCED and BCED, OCED needs both the source signal property and noise power, while BCED does not require any information (total blind). OCED can be treated as an ideal case and used as an upper bound. ED does not need the source signal property but needs the noise power (half blind). In practice, noise uncertainty [3][5] always exists. Due to the noise uncertainty, the estimated (or assumed) noise power may be different from the actual noise power. The difference between the actual and estimated noise power (in dB) is called noise uncertainty factor [3][5]. In the following, we consider two cases for ED: ED without noise uncertainty and ED with noise uncertainty factor 0.5 dB (ED-0.5 dB). In the following, . SNR is dened as based on simulaThe thresholds are set for given tions. Then we x the thresholds and simulate the probability of for the methods and various SNRs. We consider detection two signal types as follows. 1) Wireless microphone signal. In the United States and some other countries, wireless microphone operates on vacant TV channels. The wireless microphone signal is FM modulated and has a bandwidth less than 200 KHz. For our simulation, wireless microphone signals (soft speaker) [15] are generated. The sampling rate at the receiver is 6 MHz (the same as the TV bandwidth in the United States). Fig. 1 gives the simulation results for and . Here OCED and BCED are much better than ED. The reason is that the source signal has narrow bandwidth (compared to 6 MHz of a TV channel), and therefore, its samples are highly correlated.



BCED and ED has similar performance at this case, while ED-0.5 dB is much worse. In summary, the simulations above show that the proposed BCED can be much better than ED for highly correlated signals, and most importantly, BCED does not need noise power estimation and overcomes EDs susceptibility to noise uncertainty. VI. CONCLUSION In this letter, two methods to combine the signal samples have been proposed. One is proved to achieve the largest SNR, and the other does not need any information of source signal. Simulations have shown that the proposed BCED can be much better than ED for highly correlated signals, and most importantly, it does not need noise power estimation and overcomes EDs susceptibility to noise uncertainty. BCED can be used for various signal detection applications without knowledge of the source signal and the channel. REFERENCES
[1] J. Mitola and G. Q. Maguire, Cognitive radios: Making software radios more personal, IEEE Pers. Commun., vol. 6, no. 4, pp. 1318, Aug. 1999. [2] 802.22 Working Group, IEEE P802.22/D0.1 Draft Standard for Wireless Regional Area Networks, May 2006. [Online]. Available: http:// [3] A. Sonnenschein and P. M. Fishman, Radiometric detection of spreadspectrum signals in noise of uncertainty power, IEEE Trans. Aerosp. Electron. Syst., vol. 28, no. 3, pp. 654660, Jul. 1992. [4] A. Sahai and D. Cabric, Spectrum sensing: Fundamental limits and practical challenges, in Proc. IEEE Int. Symp. New Frontiers in Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN), Baltimore, MD, Nov. 2005. [5] R. Tandra and A. Sahai, Fundamental limits on detection in low SNR under noise uncertainty, in Proc. WirelessCom 2005, Maui, HI, Jun. 2005. [6] S. M. Kay, Fundamentals of Statistical Signal Processing: Detection Theory. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1998, vol. 2. [7] H. Urkowitz, Energy detection of unknown deterministic signals, Proc. IEEE, vol. PROC-55, no. 4, pp. 523531, Apr. 1967. [8] H.-S. Chen, W. Gao, and D. G. Daut, Signature based spectrum sensing algorithms for IEEE 802.22 WRAN, in Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Communications (ICC), Jun. 2007. [9] W. A. Gardner, Exploitation of spectral redundancy in cyclostationary signals, IEEE Signal Process. Mag., vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 1436, Apr. 1991. [10] N. Han, S. H. Shon, J. O. Joo, and J. M. Kim, Spectral correlation based signal detection method for spectrum sensing in IEEE 802.22 WRAN systems, in Proc. Int. Conf. Advanced Communication Technology, Korea, Feb. 2006. [11] Y. Zhang, B. Baggeroer, and J. G. Bellingham, The total variance of a periodogram-based spectral estimate of a stochastic process with spectral uncertainty and its application to classier design, IEEE Trans. Signal Process., vol. 53, no. 12, pp. 45564567, Dec. 2005. [12] D. Cabric, A. Tkachenko, and R. W. Brodersen, Spectrum sensing measurements of pilot, energy, and collaborative detection, in Proc. Military Communications Conf. (MILCOM), Oct. 2006, pp. 17. [13] A. Pandharipande and J. P. M. G. Linnartz, Performance analysis of primary user detection in multiple antenna cognitive radio, in Proc. IEEE Int. Conf. Communications (ICC), Glasgow, U.K., Jun. 2007. [14] J. B. Lasserre, A trace inequality for matrix product, IEEE Trans. Autom. Control, vol. 40, no. 8, pp. 15001501, Aug. 1995. [15] C. Clanton, M. Kenkel, and Y. Tang, Wireless microphone signal simulation method, in IEEE 802.22-07/0124r0, Mar. 2007.

Fig. 1.

= 10000.

versus SNR for wireless microphone signal: M

= K = 1; L = 10;

Fig. 2.

versus SNR for iid signal: M

= 4; K = 1; L = 1; N = 10000.

The ED-0.5 dB is substantially worse, which veries that ED is very vulnerable to noise uncertainty [3][5]. 2) iid signal. The source signal samples are iid and BPSK receiver antennas and one modulated. There are . Assume that the antennas are well primary user separated (separation larger than half wavelength) such that their channels are independent. This assumption is only for simplicity. In fact, the proposed algorithms perform better if the channels are correlated. Assume that each multipath channel has eight taps and all the channel taps are independent with equal power. The channel taps are generated as Gaussian random numbers and different for different Monte Carlo realizations. Fig. 2 indicates that