Skip to Main Content
Cognitive radio gives users the ability to switch channels and make use of dynamic spectrum opportunities. However, switching channels takes time, and may affect the quality of a user's transmission. When a cognitive radio user's channel becomes unavailable, sometimes it may be better waiting until its current channel becomes available again. Motivated by the recent FCC ruling on TV white space, we consider the scenario where cognitive radio users are given the foreknowledge of channel availabilities. Using this information, each user must decide when and how to switch channels. The users wish to exploit spectrum opportunities, but they must take account of the cost of switching channels and the congestion that comes from sharing channels with one another. We model the scenario as a game which, as we show, is equivalent to a network congestion game in the literature after proper and non-trivial transformations. This allows us to design a protocol which the users can apply to find Nash equilibria in a distributed manner. We further evaluate how the performance of the proposed schemes depends on switching cost using real channel availability measurements.