Date of Award

Spring 2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Electrical & Computer Engineering

Committee Director

Min Song

Committee Member

ChunSheng Xin

Committee Member

Dimitrie Popescu

Committee Member

Frederic D. McKenzie


The licensed wireless spectrum is currently under-utilized by as much as 85%. Cognitive radio networks have been proposed to employ dynamic spectrum access to share this under-utilized spectrum between licensed primary user transmissions and unlicensed secondary user transmissions. Current secondary user opportunistic spectrum access methods, however, remain limited in their ability to provide enough incentive to convince primary users to share the licensed spectrum, and they rely on primary user absence to guarantee secondary user performance. These challenges are addressed by developing a Dynamic Spectrum Co-Access Architecture (DSCA) that allows secondary user transmissions to co-access transparently and concurrently with primary user transmissions. This work exploits dirty paper coding to precode the cognitive radio channel utilizing the redundant information found in primary user relay networks. Subsequently, the secondary user is able to provide incentive to the primary user through increased SINR to encourage licensed spectrum sharing. Then a region of co-accessis formulated within which any secondary user can co-access the licensed channel transparently to the primary user. In addition, a Spectrum Co-Access Protocol (SCAP) is developed to provide secondary users with guaranteed channel capacity and while minimizing channel access times. The numerical results show that the SCAP protocol build on the DSCA architecture is able to reduce secondary user channel access times compared with opportunistic spectrum access and increased secondary user network throughput. Finally, we present a novel method for increasing the secondary user channel capacity through sequential dirty paper coding. By exploiting similar redundancy in secondary user multi-hop networks as in primary user relay networks, the secondary user channel capacity can be increased. As a result of our work in overlay spectrum sharing through secondary user channel precoding, we provide a compelling argument that the current trend towards opportunistic spectrum sharing needs to be reconsidered. This work asserts that limitations of opportunistic spectrum access to transparently provide primary users incentive and its detrimental effect on secondary user performance due to primary user activity are enough to motivate further study into utilizing channel precoding schemes. The success of cognitive radios and its adoption into federal regulator policy will rely on providing just this type of incentive.