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Cognitive radio has been put forward to make efficient use of scarce radio frequency spectrum. A testbed for cognitive radio can not only verify concepts, algorithms, and protocols, but also dig out more practical problems for future research. However, to our best knowledge, an authentic real-time cognitive radio system has never been demonstrated. In order to build a cognitive radio network testbed, four popular commercial off-the-shelf hardware platforms are investigated. Unfortunately, none of them meets our needs. Thus, an architecture of the motherboard and a functional architecture for nodes of cognitive radio network testbeds, as well as an architecture for cognitive radio network testbeds, are proposed. With the proposed architectures, a cognitive radio network testbed is being built at Tennessee Technological University.