Skip to Main Content
In this study, we consider optimal opportunistic spectrum access (OSA) policies for a transmitter in a multichannel wireless system, where a channel can be in one of multiple states. In such systems, the transmitter typically does not have complete information on the channel states, but can learn by probing individual channels at the expense of certain resources, e.g., energy and time. The main goal is to derive optimal strategies for determining which channels to probe, in what sequence, and which channel to use for transmission. We consider two problems within this context and show that they are equivalent to different data maximization and throughput maximization problems. For both problems, we derive key structural properties of the corresponding optimal strategy. In particular, we show that it has a threshold structure and can be described by an index policy. We further show that the optimal strategy for the first problem can only take one of three structural forms. Using these results, we first present a dynamic program that computes the optimal strategy within a finite number of steps, even when the state space is uncountably infinite. We then present and examine a more efficient, but suboptimal, two-step look-ahead strategy for each problem. These strategies are shown to be optimal for a number of cases of practical interest. We examine their performance via numerical studies.