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There is a growing demand for spectrum to accommodate future wireless services and applications. Given the rigidity of current allocations, several spectrum occupancy studies have indicated a low utilization over both space and time. Hence, to satisfy the demands of applications it can be inferred that dynamic spectrum usage is a required necessity. Centralized Dynamic Spectrum Allocation (DSA) and Distributed Dynamic Spectrum Selection (DSS) are two paradigms that aim to address this problem, whereby we use DSS (distributed) as an umbrella term for a range of terminologies for decentralized access, such as Opportunistic Spectrum Access and Dynamic Spectrum Access. This paper presents a survey on these methods, whereby we introduce, discuss, and classify several proposed architectures, techniques and solutions. Corresponding challenges from a technical point of view are also investigated, as are some of the remaining open issues. The final and perhaps most significant contribution of this work is to provide a baseline for systematically comparing the two approaches, revealing the pros and cons of DSA (centralized) and DSS (distributed) as methods of realizing spectrum sharing.
Date of Publication: Second Quarter 2011