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In this article we present SpiderRadio, a cognitive radio prototype for dynamic spectrum access networking. SpiderRadio is built using commodity IEEE 802.11a/b/g hardware and the open source MadWiFi driver. This helps us in developing and testing our prototype without having to buy and manage several licensed spectrum bands. We begin with a discussion of the key research issues and challenges in the practical implementation of a dynamic spectrum access network. Then the lessons learned from the development of dynamic spectrum access protocols, designing management frame structures, software implementation of the dynamic spectrum access network protocol stack, and testbed experimental measurement results are presented. Several trade-offs in prototype implementation complexity vs. network performance are also discussed. We also identify potential security vulnerabilities in cognitive radio networks, specifically as applied to SpiderRadio, and point out some defense mechanisms against these vulnerabilities.