Publication Date


Document Type


Committee Members

Michael Bryant (Committee Member), Fred Garber (Committee Member), Arnab Shaw (Committee Co-chair), Michael Temple (Committee Member), Zhiqiang Wu (Committee Co-chair)

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Recent studies have suggested that spectrum congestion is mainly due to the inefficient use of spectrum rather than its unavailability. Dynamic Spectrum Access (DSA) and Cognitive Radio (CR) are two terminologies which are used in the context of improved spectrum efficiency and usage. The DSA concept has been around for quite some time while the advent of CR has created a paradigm shift in wireless communications and instigated a change in FCC policy towards spectrum regulations. DSA can be broadly categorized as using a 1) Dynamic Exclusive Use Model, 2) Spectrum Commons or Open sharing model or 3) Hierarchical Access model. The hierarchical access model envisions primary licensed bands, to be opened up for secondary users, while inducing a minimum acceptable interference to primary users. Spectrum overlay and spectrum underlay technologies fall within the hierarchical model, and allow primary and secondary users to coexist while improving spectrum efficiency. Spectrum overlay in conjunction with the present CR model considers only the unused (white) spectral regions while in spectrum underlay the underused (gray) spectral regions are utilized. The underlay approach is similar to ultra wide band (UWB) and spread spectrum (SS) techniques utilize much wider spectrum and operate below the noise floor of primary users.

Software defined radio (SDR) is considered a key CR enabling technology. Spectrally modulated, Spectrally encoded (SMSE) multi-carrier signals such as Orthogonal Frequency Domain Multiplexing (OFDM) and Multi-carrier Code Division Multiple Access (MCCDMA) are hailed as candidate CR waveforms. The SMSE structure supports and is well-suited for SDR based CR applications. This work began by developing a general soft decision (SD) CR framework, based on a previously developed SMSE framework that combines benefits of both the overlay and underlay techniques to improve spectrum efficiency and maximizing the channel capacity. The resultant SD-SMSE framework provides a user with considerable flexibility to choose overlay, underlay or hybrid overlay/underlay waveform depending on the scenario, situation or need. Overlay/Underlay SD-SMSE framework flexibility is demonstrated by applying it to a family of SMSE modulated signals such as OFDM, MCCDMA, Carrier Interferometry (CI) MCCDMA and Transform Domain Communication System (TDCS). Based on simulation results, a performance analysis of Overlay, Underlay and hybrid Overlay/Underlay waveforms are presented. Finally, the benefits of combining overlay/underlay techniques to improve spectrum efficiency and maximize channel capacity are addressed.

Page Count


Department or Program

Ph.D. in Engineering

Year Degree Awarded


Included in

Engineering Commons