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Spectrum Occupancy Statistics in the Context of Cognitive Radio

Center for TeleInFrastruktur (CTIF), Aalborg University, Aalborg, Denmark1, 4 E-mail: {kpp, prasad}@es.aau.dk1, 4 Center for Communication, Media and Information Technologies, Aalborg University, Copenhagen, Denmark2 E-mail: skouby@cmi.aau.dk2 Ministry of Communications and IT, Government of India, New Delhi, India3 drashokchandra@gmail.com3
Abstract Cognitive radio (CR), a disruptive technology, has come out as a promising solution to the problem of spectrum scarcity and which will facilitate the flexible spectrum use in future. In this paradigm, the spectrum utilization is improved by opportunistic spectrum use by unlicensed users without interfering the licensed user. Spectrum occupancy measurement highlights the sections of the spectrum bands which are inefficiently utilized and thus offer potential for CR. In this context, several measurement campaigns have been conducted mostly in USA and Europe. This paper reports the spectrum occupancy measurements conducted in the frequency band from 700 MHz to 2700 MHz in an outdoor environment in the suburban of Mumbai, India. The measurement results of two weekdays campaign shows considerably low occupation with great potential for dynamic usage of spectrum. Further we discuss CR potentials based on the measurement results. However, there is a need of long term and detail study of the identified bands for CR. Keywords-Cognitive Radio,Spectrum Occupancy,Measurement Campaign, Dynamic Spectrum Access.

Kishor Patil1,Knud Skouby2,Ashok Chandra3,Ramjee Prasad4



Cognitive Radio has emerged as a breakthrough technology for the efficient spectrum utilization in the worldwide scenario of spectrum scarcity. In the CR paradigm [1] [2], wireless radio obtain the complete knowledge of the radio environment and correspondingly changes its operating parameter such as transmit power, carrier frequency and modulation for effective use of spectrum. This technology enables the unlicensed users to get access to the licensed spectrum with the help of CRs while protecting the high priority users from harmful interference. The main functions of CR within a given policy framework are spectrum sensing, spectrum management, spectrum mobility and spectrum sharing explained in [3]. CR has created wide spread interest not only in the research community but also in industry and Government. The researchers further got the motivation in CR from the various spectrum occupancy measurement results conducted worldwide [4][11] which exhibited the poor utilization of the precious spectrum. The under utilization of the spectrum puts a question mark on the prevailing fixed spectrum allocation policy and has led many authors to suggest the flexible spectrum usage with the help of dynamic spectrum access technologies such as CR. The empirical measurement of the radio environment to understand the current spectrum usage of

the different wireless services is very important step to build the spectrum map for deployment of future CR network. The measurement results will help the policy makers to identify the future potential candidate bands for the CR. Several spectrum surveys, in the different part of the world, have been conducted to understand the current spectrum utilization. National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has conducted the broadband spectrum survey to understand spectrum occupancy pattern at Denver, CO, San Diego, CA, and Los Angeles, CA in 1998 [4]. The details of the spectrum usage of rural and urban locations in Atlanta are presented in [5]. In USA, Government policy maker has taken the initiative for the evaluation of spectrum utilization for the dynamic spectrum use [6]. In this context, several broadband spectrum surveys have been done by Shared Spectrum Company (SSC) to assess the spectrum utilization. The measurement study at New Zealand [7] shows abundance of temporally unused spectrum for opportunistic use. The RF measurement in Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM) band shows only 20 percent spectrum utilization [8]. The impact of measurement location and decision threshold on the spectrum occupancy has been highlighted in [9] along with the investigation of the primary user activity with the amplitude probability distribution. A wide band and preliminary spectrum occupancy measurement campaign in Singapore [10] identifies the potential candidate bands for opportunistic use and suggest long term studies of these bands. The results of spectrum measurement conducted in Spain [11] reveal that the significant amount of the spectrum is available for the secondary use. The overall review of worldwide spectrum occupancy measurement campaigns in the context to CR is presented in [12]. In this work, we conducted spectrum occupancy measurement campaign in the suburban part of Mumbai. The goal of this campaign is to evaluate the spectrum occupancy in the frequency range from 700 to 2700 MHz with outdoor scenario and identify the low occupancy bands. The spectrum occupancy of various bands is measured over two weekdays. We report here band by band occupancy statistics from our results. The bands, which could be considered for the dynamic spectrum use in the future, are discussed. The remainder of this paper is structured as follows. We provide our measurement setup details in section II. We shall present our measurement results in section III. We discuss CR

The database of the spectrum occupancy should be reliable for the deployment of some opportunistic spectrum access scheme in future. Since one of the components of the cognitive radio structure is the experimental database containing knowledge gathered in past about spectrum occupancy [21].
TABLE I. Figure 1. Measurement configuration. DETECTION THRESHOLD FOR THE BAND. Average Band 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Frequency span ambient noise level (dBm) Decision threshold (dBm) -101 -102 -102 -102 -101 -101 -99 -103

potentials in section IV and conclude the paper in section V. II. MEASUREMENT DISCRIPTION

700-960 MHz 960.2-1215 MHz 1215.2-1515 MHz 1515.2-1710 MHz 1710.2-1880 MHz 1880.2-2250 MHz 2250.2-2500 MHz 2500.2-2700 MHz

-111 -112 -112 -112 -111 -111 -109 -113

Measurement strategy is the important aspect of any measurement campaign for the realistic estimate of spectrum utilization. The various factors to be considered while defining the strategy for a specific radio spectrum occupancy measurement is discussed in [13].We report the spectrum occupancy in the several bands after the conclusion of the spectrum occupancy measurement campaign in the frequency band 700-2700 MHz. The measurement configuration for the campaign is shown in figure 1. The measurement set up used in this campaign consist of Esmeralda integrated spectrum monitoring station from Thales group which is compliant with to the latest International Telecommunication Union (ITU) recommendations and to the Spectrum Monitoring Handbook [18], bi-conical Omni directional passive antenna with vertical polarization having a frequency range 300-3000 MHz and computer system. The signals reach at the antenna from the users follow multipath characteristics so the direction of the arrival of signal cannot be predicted. Hence the Omnidirectional antenna is preferred. Antenna is connected to the monitoring station with low loss coaxial cable. The station used in digital receiver (UHF/VHF) mode having a frequency range of 20 to 3000 MHz. The measurement frequency range has been divided into eight sub bands shown in table I. The continuous sub band scanning step size, which is selected in this campaign, is 200 KHz thus giving 10001 measurement points in the frequency range under measurement. The channel scanning speed of digital receiver is 1000 channels per second. Thus on an average, each scan to cover the entire band takes 10 seconds. The spectrum survey is performed over two week days as suggested in [14] for more realistic estimate of spectrum occupancy. A measurement of 48 hours results in a measurement trace of about 17278 scans. A. Geographic location The measurement campaign was performed at International Wireless Monitoring Station Campus, Wireless Planning and Coordination Wing of Ministry of Communication and IT, Borivli (West), Mumbai (Longitude: 72o 50 09- East, Latitude: 19o 13 55- North). This location is near to the beach and in the residential zone not having any business center or industrial zone. The location has fixed measurement setup. The scenario defined for this measurement campaign includes outdoor high point location. The antenna placed for this measurement on a tower having height 25 meter. Antenna has strategic location with direct line of sight to many nearby transmitter so that it provides realistic information about spectral activity of primary transmission.



A. Spectrum Occupancy and Decision Threshold Spectrum occupancy, also referred to as duty cycle, is an important parameter for the spectrum regulatory body in the assignment of frequency bands and further monitoring their usage. It shows at what degree the frequency band is occupied over the observation period. The most widely used definition of spectrum occupancy in the measurement campaigns is the one which is given by Splauding and Hagn in their pioneer work. They defined the spectrum occupancy for a channel as a fraction of time the received signal power exceeds a threshold [15].In the present work, the spectrum occupancy defined as the fraction measured in time and frequency dimensions where the received signal strength exceeds a decision threshold [6].In the literature [16], various spectrum sensing techniques are described to sense the primary user activity. Since no prior information available of the licensed user signal and only

Figure 2. Average received power versus frequency.

TABLE II. Band 700-806 MHz 806-890 MHz 890-960 MHz Services UHF TV, Fixed and Mobile services PMTRS,Cell Phone, RFID GSM 900,Cordless Phones Aeronautical Radio Navigation, Radio Navigation Satellite, Earth Exploration Satellite, Radio Location, Space Research Fixed/Mobile, Mobile Satellite Mobile Satellite, Meteorological Satellite Aeronautical Radio Navigation GSM 1800 TDD,3G,Fixed/ Mobile,BWA ISM,BWA,INSAT

SUMMARY OF SPECTRUM OCCUPANCY BY BAND. Average duty cycle day1 0.00429 0.27828 0.37141 Average duty cycle day 2 0.00373 0.27749 0.37264 Average of two days 0.00401 0.27781 0.37202 Occupied spectrum (MHz) 0.42 23.33 26.04 Average percentage occupancy 0.40% 27.78% 37.20%

960-1429 MHz






1429-1525 MHz 1525-1710 MHz 1710-1880 MHz 1880-2400 MHz 2400-2700 MHz

0.01823 0.01523 0.30735 0.03081

0.01780 0.01491 0.32702 0.03227 0.00209

0.01802 0.0150 0.31718 0.03154 0.004140

1.73 2.78 22.20 16.40 1.24 132.35 2000 6.62%

1.80% 1.50% 31.71% 3.15% 0.41%

0.00618 Total Total available bandwidth(MHz) Average spectrum usage (%)

power measurement is available, the energy detection is the only choice left offering benefits of low computational and implementation complexities. The energy detection method senses the received signal energy in certain frequency band and compares it with predefined threshold limit which depend on noise floor for primary user occupancy [17]. When the received signal strength of a channel at any instant in the measurement equipment is above decision threshold then the channel at that time said to be occupied. If it is below, it is said to be free or idle. In the present work, occupied spectrum on a band is calculated as the product of the average duty cycle and the bandwidth. The overall occupancy is obtained by dividing the sum of occupied spectrum with the total spectrum in consideration. The decision threshold is very important parameter which has a great impact on the evaluation of spectrum occupancy. Selection of high decision threshold may lead to under estimation of spectrum occupancy and over estimation for the low decision threshold. Existing literature survey shows that most of the measurement campaign has kept the decision threshold certain dB above the noise level of the measurement equipment. The instrument noise level is measured by terminating the equipment by 50 ohms resistor. The decision threshold in this work is taken as per the ITU recommendation i.e. 10 dB above the ambient noise level [18, page168].The measurement study at New Zealand shows that noise margin of 10 dB above the mean noise power level produces only 0.0005% false alarm rate [7].The back ground noise varies with the frequency so the decision threshold is not fixed for the entire band of measurement. In this work we use different threshold in order to address the different background noise levels and also to achieve realistic estimate of spectrum utilization. The entire band of 700-2700 MHz is divided into

eight different bands and the corresponding threshold is given in table I. B. Spectrum Occupancy Analysis This section presents the spectrum occupancy details from the spectrum measurement survey of the bands allocated to the different wireless services. The average received signal power variation above threshold with respective to frequency span of the measurement study is depicted into the plot which is shown in Figure 2. The plot shows the spectrum usage mostly low with some patchy spots of spectrum use. The plot does not give the detailed picture of the spectrum usage in the various bands allocated to different wireless services. We give the insight of the band wise occupancy statistics which is summarized in Table II. The first band 700 to 806 MHz is a part of the 470960 MHz band which is allocated for terrestrial TV broadcasting, fixed and mobile services on a primary basis in India [19]. There are 14 TV channels available in the UHF Band-IV (470 -582 MHz) and 28 channels in UHF Band-V (582-806 MHz) with each having channel bandwidth of 8 MHz [20]. Doordarshan, public television broadcaster of India, have not been assigned any channel in this sub-band for analogue TV transmission [20]. But Doordarshan operates short distance UHF links in the frequency bands 735755 MHz and 775 795 MHz. A few of the Government agencies are operating point to point microwave links in 610806 MHz. The spectrum occupancy of the band 700-806 MHz is 0.4 % only because of no analogue TV transmission in this sub-band by Doordarshan. The next band is 806890 MHz, which is allocated, for Public Mobile Radio Trunked Service (PMRTS), digital

cellular services and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) according to National Frequency Allocation Plan of India [19]. The average duty cycle of this band is 27.78%. The average spectrum occupancy on the two-way links of PMRTS found to be 0.45% and 19.58%. The Digital cellular communication system, which operates in, 824-889 MHz band and use Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA) technology has asymmetric occupancy pattern between uplink (0.4%) and down link (96.49%). The uplink spectrum occupancy is very low due to the fact that CDMA signal, which is a wideband, and low power signal might not be sensed by the monitoring station. But the down link band is heavily occupied due to continuous transmission from the base station for updating procedures. The 890-960 MHz band and 1710-1880 MHz have been allocated for the GSM 900 and GSM 1800 services respectively. These two bands have average spectrum occupancy 37.2% and 31.71% respectively, which is quite high. The occupancy of uplink and downlink sides is not same. The down link occupancy is found to be 98.67% and 70.08 % in GSM 900 and GSM 1800 band respectively. The transmission power of control channels on downlink from GSM base stations is considerably higher than that of cellular phones. Therefore, the presence of GSM downlink signals can be more easily detected. Moreover, the antenna employed in our study was placed on a tower having a height of 25 meter from ground providing direct line-of-sight to several nearby base stations, which enabled us to accurate measurement of the high spectral activity of the downlink. But the high point measurement location could potentially miss the signals from the micro base station and hence the moderate spectrum occupancy for GSM 1800 band. The uplink spectrum occupancy is found to be 4.41% and 1.12% in GSM 900 and GSM 1800 band respectively. The low-occupancy on uplink may be because the low transmit power from the mobile terminals. Most of the mobile terminals operate at ground level, and the location of antenna used in this work is at high altitude causes more signal attenuation. The system works on the energy detection principle cannot detect such weak signals. The choice of decision threshold in measurement method is highly influential in the evaluating spectrum occupancy since the signal from the licensed users below threshold does not contribute to the spectrum occupancy rate. The lacking occupancy could be due to the higher noise margin of 10 dB for selecting the decision threshold. Therefore, the occupancy estimate for these uplink bands do not represent realistic estimate of occupancy. The third generation of mobile communication (3G) has recently started to India has shown 0.38% and 22.83% spectrum occupancy for uplink and down link respectively. The technology employed in 3G services is W-CDMA having spread spectrum nature of the uplink signal with low power. The 2400-2700 MHz band exhibits very low spectrum usage with occupancy rate of only 0.41%.This band includes popular unlicensed Industrial, Scientific and Medical (ISM) band (2400-2483.5 MHz), Broadband Wireless Access (BWA), Indian National Satellite System (INSAT) and other services. The occupancy estimates from the measurement for ISM band is not reflecting the actual occupancy since the
Figure 3. Band by band occupancy statistics.

wireless services in ISM band is employed in the indoor environment and the short wave signals of this band do not penetrate through the walls. The occupancy in satellite services is very low due to the signal reached at ground level may be very weak, and the measurement system might not able to detect it. The measurement results of this study reveals that the spectrum utilization is not uniform over time and frequency span of the measurement. Some part of the spectrum recording heavy utilization over a longer period of time conversely some portion of the spectrum comes out be with rare or nil utilization. The substantial amount of spectrum utilization has been observed in the bands which are allocated point to multipoint cellular communication services. C. Key Observations This section summarizes the key observations from the spectrum occupancy measurement results and graphically presents the band wise occupancy statistics in Figure 3. The spectrum occupancy for the two day measurement period is very low 6.62 % that means 93.38% of the allocated spectrum is completely unutilized. The highest occupancy has been observed in the GSM 900 band. The bands allocated for GSM 1800, cellular telecom services, trunked radio services have moderate occupancy. Low occupancy has been recorded in the bands allocated for aeronautical radio navigation, radio navigation satellite, earth exploration satellite, radio location, space research, mobile satellite, meteorological satellite and 3G. The band allocated for fixed and mobile services, broadband wireless access (BWA) and ISM records negligible utilization. IV. DISCUSSIONS ON CR POTENTIALS

This section discusses the potential candidate bands for CR applications which will require extensive study to bring it into

reality. All the bands except cellular bands have shown the low occupancy and could be considered for dynamic spectrum use. The 700-806 MHz band has excellent signal propagation characteristics and which is almost unoccupied most of the time have potential for the secondary use. The PMRTS band offer potential for CR application since the average spectrum occupancy found to be only 0.45 % and 19.58%.The bands which are allocated to aeronautical radio navigation, radio navigation and radiolocation, are also opportunistic bands. The accurate spectrum occupancy estimate should be done for ISM, BWA and satellite bands before considering for opportunistic use. This can be achieved with the use of some special equipments, methodology and appropriate measurement location. The uplink channels of GSM (2G) and the recent entrants W-CDMA (3G) band appear as another potential candidates for CR. These channels occupancy needs to be studied for long term at appropriate locations since we conducted the measurement at very high point location. Although, the downlink channels of 3G show a moderate level of spectral activity (22.83%), these channels also provide some opportunities for secondary access. This study is the ground work for the next step which needs long term study of the identified bands for future deployment of CR Network. V. CONCLUSION AND FUTURE WORK







In this work, we have investigated the spectrum utilization in suburban of Mumbai for the frequency span of 700-2700 MHz. Our measurement results showed that the spectrum occupancy for entire frequency band is quite low about 6.62%. The spectrum occupancy rates are highly influenced by choice of decision threshold in measurement method and measurement location. Very low spectrum utilization is found in the bands allocated for different wireless services in the frequency range under measurement except the bands allocated for cellular communication systems. Thus significant amount of spectrum is available for opportunistic use. In the future work, we have planned to conduct the measurement campaign with refined measurement method at other locations in India and make use of our results in order to do modeling for CR potentials. ACKNOWLEDGMENT The authors would like to thank Wireless and Planning Coordination (WPC) Wing of Ministry of Communication and IT, Government of India for providing facility to conduct measurement campaign at International Wireless Monitoring Center, Mumbai. Also we would like to thank to Prakash Sonkamble and M.P.S. Alawa for their support during measurement. REFERENCES
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