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Wireless data traffic is growing extraordinarily, with new wireless devices such as smartphones and bandwidth-demanding wireless applications such as video streaming becoming increasingly popular and widely adopted. Correspondingly, we have also witnessed the phenomenal wireless technology evolutions to support higher system capacities from generation to generation. Long Term Evolution has been developed as a 4G wireless technology that can support next generation multimedia applications with high capacity and high mobility needs. However, the peak data rate from 3G UMTS to 4G LTE-Advanced only increases 55 percent annually, while global mobile traffic has increased 66 times with an annual growth rate of 131 percent between 2008 and 2013. Clearly, there is a huge gap between the growth rate of the new air interface and the growth rate of customers¿ needs. A promising way to alleviate the contention between the actual traffic demands and the actual system capacity growth is to exploit more available spectrum resources. Recently, cognitive radio technology has been under extensive research and study. It aims to provide abundant new spectrum opportunities by exploiting underutilized or unutilized spectrum opportunistically. In this article, we discuss the technical solutions to expand LTE spectrum with CR technology (LTE-CR), and survey the advances in LTE-CR from both research and implementation aspects. We present detailed key technologies that enable LTE-CR in the TV white space (TVWS), and related standards and regulation progresses. To demonstrate the feasibility of deploying LTECR in TVWS, we have conducted extensive system-level simulations and also developed a LTE-CR prototype. Both simulation and laboratory testing results show that applying LTECR in TVWS can achieve satisfactory performance.
Date of Publication: April 2013