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The evolution of future wireless communication systems imposes a strong requirement on the efficiency of spectrum usage, which is expected to be leveraged by interacting and cooperating cognitive radios forming wider cognitive radio systems. Dynamic spectrum access is a potential means to improve spectrum usage. A key step in realizing DSA is to obtain spectral occupancy information provided by spectrum sensors. Subsequently, nodes in a CRS analyze spectrum usage to find unused spectrum (often referred to as white spaces). Then the system makes a decision on the best opportunities considering regulatory policy, transceiver capacity, and so on. In such an operation, sensing information exchange plays a fundamental and key role in enabling efficient DSA. This article presents the technical issues and IEEE standardization activities related to sensing information exchange. In particular, the IEEE P1900.6 working group activities aimed at standardizing logical interfaces and data structures required for exchange of sensing related information between sensors and their clients are discussed. By explaining the objective, use cases, reference model, data structure, data representation, and generic procedures developed so far, the article presents the main technical aspects of the IEEE P1900.6 sensing interface and its usefulness in CRSs.
Date of Publication: February 2011