Stochastic spectrum handoff protocols for partially observable cognitive radio networks

Jui Hung Chu, Rui Ting Ma, Kai-Ten Feng*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Recent studies have been conducted to indicate the ineffective usage of licensed bands due to static spectrum allocation. In order to improve spectrum utilization, cognitive radio (CR) is therefore suggested to dynamically exploit the opportunistic primary frequency spectrums. How to provide efficient spectrum handoff has been considered a crucial issue in the CR networks. Existing spectrum handoff algorithms assume that all the channels can be correctly sensed by the CR users in order to perform appropriate spectrum handoff process. However, this assumption is impractical since excessive time will be required for the CR user to sense the entire spectrum space. In this paper, the partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP) is applied to estimate the network information by partially sensing the frequency spectrums. A POMDP-based spectrum handoff (POSH) scheme is proposed to determine the optimal target channel for spectrum handoff according to the partially observable channel state information. Moreover, a POMDP-based multi-user spectrum handoff (M-POSH) protocol is proposed to exploit the POMDP policy into multi-user CR networks by distributing CR users to frequency spectrum bins opportunistically. By adopting the policies resulted from the POSH and M-POSH algorithms for target channel selection, minimal waiting time at each occurrence of spectrum handoff can be achieved which will be feasible for multimedia applications. Numerical results illustrate that the proposed spectrum handoff protocols can effectively minimize the required waiting time for spectrum handoff in the CR networks.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1022
Number of pages20
JournalWireless Networks
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Channel selection
  • Cognitive radio
  • Partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP)
  • Spectrum handoff

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