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A constantly available control channel facilitates control message exchange and spectrum coordination in cognitive radio (CR) ad hoc networks. When a dedicated control channel is unavailable, a control channel must be dynamically allocated in licensed channels and vacated for the presence of primary users (PUs). As a result, the establishment of such a control channel is a challenge. In this paper, an efficient recovery control channel (ERCC) design is proposed to address this challenge. This heuristic and distributed design approach is essentially based on the observed spectrum homogeneity in a neighborhood. By adaptively updating a list of channels commonly available to neighbors, each secondary user is able to efficiently establish new control channels among neighbors in response to PU activity changes. Therefore, a virtually “always on” control channel robust to PU activity can be realized by the proposed method. The contributions are summarized as follows: 1) The proposed method efficiently recovers control channels from PU activity changes and maintains network connectivity. 2) It extends the control channel coverage to facilitate broadcast and reduce control overhead and delay. 3) It minimizes the interference with PUs. Simulation results show that the proposed solution outperforms the classic group- and sequence-based solutions in the responsiveness to rapidly changing PU activity and the maintenance of connectivity. Furthermore, the increase in control channel coverage and the allocation of the highest quality channels to control channels can be well balanced with reliability and scalability in various network scenarios.
Date of Publication: Nov. 2010