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978-1-4673-0671-3/11/$26.

002011 IEEE 282 IEEE-ICoAC 2011




Spectrum Opportunity in UHF ISM Band of
902-928 MHz for Cognitive Radio

Dhananjay Kumar,
Department of Information Technology
MIT Campus, Anna University
Chennai, India
dhananjay540@gmail.com

G. Kalaichelvi, D. Saravanan, T.K. Loheswari,
SAMEER-Centre for Electromagnetics,
2
nd
Cross Road CIT Campus, Taramani
Chennai, India
kalai_g2002@yahoo.co.in

Abstract - The cognitive radio is an intelligent wireless
communication system dynamically adapting itself to the
operating environment by changing its parameters, towards
reliable communication and efficient spectrum utilization. Radio
scene analysis is the first and foremost task based on which the
spectrum is sensed towards its efficient utilization. A real-time
observation is needed to model the statistical data of spectrum
utilization with reference to specific geographic location and time,
which can be utilized in resource allocation of cognitive radio
system. This paper presents typical spectrum occupancy of the
902-928 MHz ISM band obtained through signal strength
measurements and its statistical study. The usage of such channel
occupancy statistical data in the spectrum sensing formulation is
also elaborated in a typical scenario for a frequency hopping
system working in this band. The simulation result of energy
based detection of the above system is presented to realize a
cognitive environment.
Index Terms-Cognitive radio, ISM, Spectrum sensing, FCC,
TVWS
I. INTRODUCTION
Spectrum is a very valuable resource in wireless
communication systems and it has been the focal point for
research and development efforts over the last several decades.
But, now there is a big difference in the thinking process and
the related activity towards spectrum. The traditional thinking
had been that one should try to have more bandwidth and more
resources. But, now everyone has come to the realization of the
problem of not having enough bandwidth or resources. Todays
spectrum allocations are based on a command-and-control
philosophy which means that the spectrum allocated for a
particular application does not change over space and time. A
lot of spectrum studies have shown that the bandwidth/resource
utilization rates in many such allocated cases are too low. With
the understanding that rigid, inflexible protocols and strategies
often leave wasted resources, the situational information is now
emphasized. Therefore, in the past decade the concept of
cognitive networking and communications has offered a
revolutionary perspective in the design of modern
communicative architecture. [1, 2]

Today we are in a scenario, where the National Broadband
Plan of Federal communications commission (FCC) has mainly
recommended to free up 500 MHz of spectrum in the next 10
years and urged to initiate further proceedings on opportunistic
spectrum access beyond the already completed TV White
Spaces (TVWS) proceedings.[3]

Moreover, wireless communications are going to be
extensively used by emergency responders to prevent or
respond to incidents and by citizens to avail their services.
Therefore, cognitive radio is identified as an emerging
technology towards effective and efficient usage of the
spectrum in National Emergency Communications Plan
(NECP) also, as in national broadband plan. With cognitive
radio, public safety users can use additional spectrum for daily
operation from location to location and from time to time. [3]

II. COGNITIVE RADIO
The cognitive radio which is an extension of software-
defined radio, is defined as an intelligent wireless
communication system aware of its operating environment,
understanding and dynamically adapting to it by changing its
operating parameters, with the two primary objectives in mind:
Highly reliable communication and Efficient utilization of the
radio spectrum resources.

Such a cognitive radio system has to perform the three
following fundamental cognitive tasks [4].
1) Radio-scene analysis.
2) Channel-state estimation and predictive modeling.
3) Transmit-power control and dynamic spectrum
management.

Radio scene analysis is the first and foremost task based on
which the spectrum is sensed towards efficient utilization. The
fundamental aspect to the success of such technology is the
statistical properties of the spectrum occupancy measured
through Radio-scene analysis.

978-1-4673-0671-3/11/$26.002011 IEEE 283 IEEE-ICoAC 2011

III. USAGE OF ISM BANDS
The Industrial, Scientific, and Medical (ISM) bands include
two sub-GHz frequency bands around 400 MHz and 900 MHz,
and the well-known 2.4 GHz band. The lowest ISM band is
designated at 315/433 MHz and is characterized by wide
ranges but reduced data rate. The ISM band at 915/868 MHz
(US/EU) is characterized by good penetration and is used by
Cordless phones, Microwave ovens, Industrial heaters, etc.,
The most widely used ISM frequency band is at 2.4 GHz, and
is particularly attractive since it is available worldwide and
offers high bandwidth and sufficient range. This band is used
by wireless technologies such as IEEE 802.11 (Wi-Fi), IEEE
802.15.1 (Bluetooth), IEEE 802.15.4 (ZigBee, 6LoWPAN), as
well as microwave ovens and active RFIDs.

IV. OPERATION IN THE 915MHZ BAND VS 2.4GHZ
The frequency band of 902 928 MHz is one of the ISM
bands in the US, commonly abbreviated as the 915-MHz ISM
band. In this band, there are no restrictions to the application or
the duty cycle for the control and periodic applications as in the
other bands. Furthermore, the allowed power output is
considerably higher. Because of the lack of stringent
restrictions and higher allowed power, this band is very
popular for unlicensed short range applications including audio
and video transmission [5,6]. Due to this reason, the radio
modem and related hardware are readily available and there are
lot of existing usage of this band in the other countries
including India irrespective of the band being licensed or not.

The 2.4-GHz ISM band is a worldwide unlicensed band.
This is an important advantage compared to the 902 928MHz
ISM band. The 2.4-GHz band also has a wider bandwidth than
the 902928 MHz band which means more available channels.
The disadvantages of the 2.4GHz band are increased cost and
current consumption of the active components, reduced
propagation distance for the same power, and increased band
congestion due to the coexistence of systems such as Bluetooth
and wireless internet. [5,6, 7]

With increasing interest in implementing the ubiquitous
monitoring of patients in hospitals, Medical Body Area
Networks (MBAN) is a promising solution. It is strongly felt
that 2.4GHz ISM band is not suitable for life critical medical
applications due to the interference and congestion from IT
wireless networks in hospitals. [3]

V. SPECTRUM SENSING MEASUREMENTS IN RECENT
STANDARDS
Recent increases in demand for cognitive radio technology
have driven researchers and technologists to rethink the
implications of the traditional engineering designs and
approaches to communications and networking. As a
consequence, recently developed wireless standards have
started to include cognitive features [8]. It is practically
difficult to expect a wireless standard that is based on
wideband spectrum sensing and opportunistic exploitation of
the spectrum. However, the trend is towards achieving these
goals.
A. IEEE 802.11k
This is clear from IEEE 802.11k, a proposed extension to
IEEE 802.11 which defines several types of measurements
including channel load report, noise histogram report and
station statistics report. The noise histogram report provides
methods to measure interference levels received by its
subscriber unit. The measurement information is used to
improve the traffic distribution within the network towards
efficient utilization of the spectrum for better throughput.
B. Bluetooth
In the 2.4 GHz ISM band, Bluetooth has to coexist with
IEEE802.11b/g devices, cordless telephones, and microwave
ovens. To achieve higher BER avoiding narrow band
interference, a new feature called Adaptive Frequency Hopping
requiring a sensing algorithm is introduced in the Bluetooth
standard. The sensing algorithm is based on the statistics of
channel occupancy measuring RF or baseband domain
parameters.
C. IEEE 802.22
IEEE 802.22 cognitive radio standard suggests spectrum
sensing of TV signals through energy and cyclostationary
based detection for its wireless regional area network (WRAN)
devices. In this standard, spectrum sensing is drafted in two
stages namely fast and fine sensing. A coarse sensing
algorithm namely an energy detector is employed for fast
sensing and the fine sensing stage initiated by the fast sensing
includes waveform based sensing, cyclostationary feature
detection and matched filtering.
VI. SPECTRUM MEASUREMENTS IN 915 MHZ BAND
As in 2.4 GHz ISM band, the spectrum knowledge and the
sensing algorithms can be used to initiate advanced algorithms
as well as adaptive interference cancellation in receivers
operating in UHF-ISM band of 902-928MHz. In India, due to
the excellent propagation characteristics, UHF ISM range of
902-928MHz range is still preferred as a low cost solution to a
number of data acquisition/control and navigational
requirements.

In our study, aimed at exploring the spectrum opportunity in
the interested band of 902MHz to 928MHz, the signal
strengths over the frequency band were measured using a
measurement set-up. A spectrum analyzer was used to measure
the signal strengths gathered through a CC-BW-Ltype antenna
with vertical polarisation. Fig.1 shows a typical spectrum

978-1-4673-0671-3/11/$26.002011 IEEE 284 IEEE-ICoAC 2011

analyser screen during the measurements covering the entire
frequency range of 902 MHz to 928MHz.

Fig. 1. A typical spectrum measurement log.
As it is required to evaluate the spectrum opportunity and
spectrum sensing concepts by considering different dimensions
of the spectrum space, in our study also, the occupancy of
channels were observed over a period and the signal strengths
were measured at various instances of time. The following Fig.2
shows the occupancy of channels deduced from the signal
strength measurements of the band of interest, namely 902 to
928 MHz, over a period of time through a number of trials.
Received Signal Strength Values are used to classify channels
as good - depicted in white with no existing signals, bad
depicted in Black - with signals all the time or unknown
depicted in Grey - with intermittent signals, equivalent to
depiction of TV white spaces. The centre frequencies of all the
time occupied band and the range of frequencies of unoccupied
and intermittently occupied band of frequencies are mentioned
in this figure with the corresponding bandwidths mentioned
inside the bars.


Fig. 2. Spectrum occupancy in 902-928 MHz

Estimation of spectrum usage in multiple dimensions
includes time, frequency, space, angle and code, identifying
opportunities in these dimensions. In this study also, the data
collected over a period is used to arrive at the statistical results
of channel occupancy. The following Fig.3 gives the spectrum
usage plot in 3 dimensions namely relative time and frequency
and the correspondingly measured signal strength.

-92
-90
-88
-86
-84
-82
-80
-78
-76
-74
1
2
3
4
5
6
905 910 915 920 925 930
L
e
v
e
l
i
n
d
B
m R
e
l
a
t
i
v
e
T
i
m
e
Frequency in MHz

Fig. 3. Spectrum Occupancy - Frequency Vs
Power level with time

The data collected over a period of time helps the user to
arrive at statistical results which will help in understanding the
occupancy of the band to avoid or use particular frequencies at
various instances of time. The following figure namely Fig.4
gives the probability of percentage of occupancy calculated
based on the availability of signals from signal strength
measurements performed over a period of time.


1.9 MHz

1.4
MHz
900
KHz 3.6 MHz
2 MHz
2MHz
2.8 MHz 3.9 MHz 5 MHz
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z

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2.5MHz
9
1
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z


978-1-4673-0671-3/11/$26.002011 IEEE 285 IEEE-ICoAC 2011

Fig. 4. % of Occupancy Vs Frequency in MHz
VII. FORMULATION OF SPECTRUM SENSING IN
COGNITIVE RADIO
Usage of a sensing algorithm on the received data determines
whether there are other devices present in the ISM band and
whether or not to avoid them. The sensing algorithm is based on
the channel occupancy statistics gathered to determine which
channels are occupied and which channels are empty. The least
demanding approach of a spectrum sensing algorithm, from an a
priori information point of view is energy detection. Moreover,
there is no knowledge about the transmission systems and signal
types to be detected, to employ other methods of spectrum
listening.
An energy detector measures the energy in a radio spectrum
and compares the value against a threshold. If the measured
energy is below the threshold, the radio resource is declared as
not occupied and made available for opportunistic use.
When the signal x(t) is transmitted through the channel
having gain h, the received signal y(t) at the receiver is given
by y(t) =h x(t) + () with additive white Gaussian noise
(AWGN) with mean zero and one-sided power spectral density
N
o
.

The detection of the signal is the test of the following two
hypotheses:
H
0
: y(t) = () signal absent (1)
H
1
: y(t) =h x(t) + () signal present

H
0
is a null hypothesis, meaning that there is no
existing/primary user present in the band and H
1
means the
primary/existing users presence. The detection statistics of the
energy detector can be average energy of N observed samples
[2].

(2)


In energy detection, the received signal is first pre-filtered
by an ideal band pass filter which has bandwidth w, and the
output of this filter is then squared and integrated over a time
interval t to produce the test statistics.

The test statistic, T is compared with a predefined threshold
value , The performance of the detector are based on two
probabilities: the probability of false alarm P
F
and detection
probability P
D
which can be evaluated as (T > H
0
) and
(T > H
1
), respectively.

Using chi square distribution with P
D
, probability of
detection and V = tw [9].
( ) { }
D
D
P
V
F
V
P
F = =
|
.
|

\
|
=

:
1
(3)
where
( ) dt
v
e t
V
F P
v
t V
D
)
I
= =

0
2 /
2 / 2 / ) 2 (
) 2 / ( 2
(4)

where (.) is the gamma function
Thus, the energy detection described above is a non-specific
method, as no particular property of the signal is used.
However, in the absence of primary users if the band is
unlicensed or in the absence of existing users of
cyclostationary nature or in the unavailability of knowledge on
the existing users, can be used for declaring whether a resource
is occupied or not, if not the type of system or user occupying
the channel. Also, an energy detector needs to have an idea of
the noise level to adjust the detection threshold.
In the simulation of the energy based detector, the equation
(2) is used to calculate the detection statistics which is the
average (or total) energy of N Observed samples. The threshold
is calculated based on the probability of detection P
D
using chi
square distribution as shown in (3) and (4).
TABLE I.
SIMULATION PARAMETERS
Sl.
No.
Parameter Value
1. Channel separation 500kHz
2. Max. possible hopping channels 52
3. Probability of False alarm 0.001
4. SNR -114dBm
The following Fig.5 shows the simulation results for a
typical frequency hopping system working over the band of
interest with an option of 52 hopping channels separated by
500 KHz, In this result, the presence of (primary) signals are
depicted, so that the presence of a spectrum sensing algorithm
can help in avoiding those frequencies during frequency
hopping, towards achieving a more reliable communication
link. In this simulation, we find that around 14 frequencies
namely 902MHz, 904MHz, 905.5MHz, 907.5MHz, 908.5MHz,
909MHz, 909.5MHz, 911MHz, 912.5MHz, 915MHz,
918.5MHz, 922.5MHz, 923MHz, 925MHz and 925.5MHz are
occupied by existing users and hopping to these frequencies
can be avoided to get a reliable link and to reduce interference
to the existing users.
2
1
) (
1
_
=
=
N
t
t y
N
T

978-1-4673-0671-3/11/$26.002011 IEEE 286 IEEE-ICoAC 2011

900 905 910 915 920 925 930
-0.4
-0.2
0
0.2
0.4
0.6
0.8
1
1.2
Frequency in MHz

D
e
c
i
s
i
o
n

v
a
r
i
a
b
l
e



Fig. 5 Simulation result of Energy based detection
VIII. CONCLUSION
The study presented here, involving signal strength
measurements show the thin occupancy of the spectrum and a
good spectrum oppurtunity in this band. The simulation results
suggest that an energy detection based spectrum sensing
algorithm will help in establishing a highly reliable link
towards an efficient and effective utilization of overall band
for cognitive radio. This work based on acquiring spectrum
occupancy through measurements and the application of
statistical techniques to detect spectrum holes at a given time
and at a particular geographical location can be used to build
an intelligent database towards realising a cognitive radio
system. Developing a mathematical model based on statistical
data for the spectrum utilisation for cognitive radio is the future
work of the study presented here.
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[6] Texas Instruments, ISM band and Short range device regulatory
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