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In order to improve utilization of TV spectrum, regulatory bodies around the world have been developing rules to allow operation by unlicensed users in these bands provided that interference to incumbent broadcasters is avoided. Thus, new services may opportunistically use temporarily unoccupied TV channels, known as television white space. This has motivated several standardization efforts such as IEEE 802.22, 802.11af, 802.19 TG1, and ECMA 392 to further cognitive networking. Specifically, multiple collocated secondary networks are expected to use TVWS, each with distinct requirements (bandwidth, transmission power, different system architectures, and device types) that must all comply with regulatory requirements to protect incumbents. Heterogeneous coexistence in the TVWS is thus expected to be an important research challenge. This article introduces the current regulatory scenario, emerging standards for cognitive wireless networks targeting the TVWS, and discusses possible coexistence scenarios and associated challenges. Furthermore, the article casts an eye on future considerations for these upcoming standards in support of spectrum sharing opportunities as a function of network architecture evolution.
Date of Publication: August 2011