Abstract—Radio spectrum resource is of fundamental importance for wireless communication. Recent reports show that most available spectrum has been allocated. While some of the spectrum bands (e.g., unlicensed band, GSM band) have seen increasingly crowded usage, most of the other spectrum resources are underutilized. This drives the emergence of open spectrum and dynamic spectrum access concepts, which allow unlicensed users equipped with cognitive radios to opportunistically access the spectrum not used by primary users. Cognitive radio has many advanced features, such as agilely sensing the existence of primary users and utilizing multiple spectrum bands simultaneously. However, in practice such capabilities are constrained by hardware cost. In this paper, we discuss how to conduct efficient spectrum management in ad hoc cognitive radio networks while taking the hardware constraints (e.g., single radio, partial spectrum sensing and spectrum aggregation limit) into consideration. A hardware-constrained cognitive MAC, HC-MAC, is proposed to conduct efficient spectrum sensing and spectrum access decision. We identify the issue of optimal spectrum sensing decision for a single secondary transmission pair, and formulate it as an optimal stopping problem. A decentralized MAC protocol is then proposed for the ad hoc cognitive radio networks. Simulation results are presented to demonstrate the effectiveness of our proposed protocol. Index Terms—Cognitive MAC, open spectrum, optimal spectrum sensing, spectrum aggregation. I
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