Radio approach to spectrum sensing systems

1. Introduction

It has become evident that the terrible underutilization of the electromagnetic spectrum [ 7 ] calls for alternate and fresh solutions in the use of the wireless resource. The procedure of statistically garnering and construing informations to supply spectrum direction information is called Spectrum Sensing. These types of activities require high processing power and reconfigurable hardware platforms. An optimal solution is Software Defined Radio ( SDR ) Platforms.

1.1. Spectrum Feeling

A criterion for a Cognitive Wireless Regional Area Network ( WRAN ) is being developed by the 802.22 working group, which will work fresh DTT channels and supply fixed radio entree services. It is expected that the concluding criterion will back up 6, 7 and 8 MHz channels. The criterion ‘s bill of exchange signifier can be found in [ 8 ] .

Feeling involves the analysis of the wireless frequence spectrum and identifying fresh spectrum for usage by the WRAN [ 3 ] .

The type of feeling used by the writers in this paper is called Energy Detector, a unsighted detection technique that does non trust on any particular signal characteristics sensing ( i.e. correlativity ) .

1.2. Energy DetectorSensing

The energy ( power ) sensor is a type of feeling that estimates the signal power in the channel and compares that estimation to a threshold [ 4 ] .

One facet of this procedure is to execute non-coherent sensing through energy sensing. An energy sensor can be implemented correspondent to a spectrum analyser by averaging frequence bins of a Fast Fourier Transform ( FFT ) .

There are several drawbacks of energy sensors that can decrease their simpleness in execution like: the threshold used for primary user sensing is extremely susceptible to unknown or altering noise degrees ; energy sensing does non distinguish between modulated signals, noise and intervention and, hence, can non profit from adaptative signal processing for call offing the interferer ; an energy sensor does non work for dispersed spectrum signals like direct sequence and frequence hopping signals, for which more sophisticated signal processing algorithms need be devised [ 2 ] .

1.3. Software-Defined Radio

The freshness of the detection system, described in this paper, is its trust upon a SDR system.

A SDR system is made up of a SDR hardware platform and its associated package model and functionality.

The term Software Defined Radio was coined in [ 1 ] by J. Mitola, and described as being the procedure of edifice digital communications systems by using general intent hardware and braces of digital to analog ( DAC ) and parallel to digital convertors ( DAC and ADC ) for digital signal processing.

GNU Radio laminitis Eric Blossom, states in [ 12 ] that SDR is the technique of acquiring codification as stopping point to the aerial as possible. The construct is to turn wireless hardware jobs into package jobs which are more flexible and manageable. SDRs generate, modulate / demodulate the familial /received wave forms, contrary to most wirelesss, which do their processing through parallel or combined parallel and digital circuitry.

To sum up, a SDR or frequency-agile wireless, faculty is capable of reconfiguring and exchanging to newly-selected frequence sets. It can be programmed to tune to and run on specific frequence bands over a broad scope of spectrum [ 6 ] .

2. Feeling System Architecture

A typical SDR based Cognitive Radio Sensing System architecture and its functional blocks are depicted in Figure.1.

The SDR Hardware Platform is normally comprised of the Radio Frequency Front-End and the SDR MotherBoard Blocks.

The RF Front-End collects the signal from the aerial, after which it filters, amplifies and tunes the signal to a baseband frequence dependant on the board ‘s IF bandwidth and local oscillator frequence.

The signal is so passed to the SDR Motherboard block. Here, an parallel to digital convertor ( ADC ) samples the standard signal and converts it to digital values depending on the ADCs dynamic scope. The digital sample values are transferred to the FPGA and processed with digital down convertors ( DDC ) to run into precisely the requested end product frequence and sample rate [ 13 ] . This is done by multiplying the samples with a sine, severally cosine, map ensuing in the I and Q waies. The frequence is generated with a numerically-controlled oscillator ( NCO ) which synthesizes a discrete-time, discrete-amplitude wave form within the FPGA. The following measure is signal decimation by an arbitrary decimation factor, N. The resulting signal is the SDR platform ‘s end product signal towards the host side [ 13 ] .

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While able to execute basic digital signal processing ( DSP ) , with its General Purpose Processors and FPGAs, the SDR platform ‘s limited processing capablenesss require the processing power of the Host Computer Block. This is normally a personal computing machine ( Personal computer ) with sufficient treating power, able to run the appropriate package. The System Software Block is a aggregation of expressed DSP package, capable of implementing sensing-specific statistical algorithms and functional flows. This block is run by the Host Computer.

2.1. Software Defined Radio Platform

SDR hardware platforms were studied as to find the optimal campaigner refering the needed, functionality to cost, ratio. The first term, functionality, indicates that the proposed system clearly satisfies its intent, viz. nimble spectrum feeling in order to place fresh wireless channels. The 2nd term of the ratio, cost, implies that, every bit long as the functionality of the system is satisfactory, it should stay to a minimum value.

Table 1 portrays the differential analysis for available RF front terminal solutions.

Harmonizing to the “functionality to cost” paradigm, proposed by the writers, it clearly emerges from tabular array that the optimal solution is Ettus Research ‘s platform, entitled Universal Serial Radio Peripheral 2 or USRP2.

In USRP2s, ADCs have a dynamic scope of 14 spots and a trying rate of 100 mega samples per second ( MS/s ) .

Towards the host side, USRP2 uses the Gbit-Ethernet connexion, leting a significantly high throughput. The theoretical information rate of 125 MB/s allows for a theoretical ( complex ) RF bandwidth of about 31.25 MHz, although the useable bandwidth has a bound of 25 MHz.

USRP2 daughterboards are RF front ends that stopper into one of four sockets on the motherboard and are each designed to back up a broad scope of different wireless frequence sets. Analog constituents on these boards upconvert, downconvert and magnify the IF signals to the desired RF and broadcast the end product signal [ 13 ] .

The daughterboard that we use in this paper is called WBX and it is a 50Hz to 2.2 GHz transceiver with applications in such transmittal Fieldss as DVB-T, GSM, or GPS [ 14 ] .

2.2. Feeling System Software

Two options were considered as solutions for the developed paradigm.

The first is called GNURadio, an unfastened

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Differential Analysis of SDR Front Ends Table 1



RF bandwidth [ MHz ]


Processing Architecture


No. of antennae/Tx waies

Cost ( $ )






















USB, Ethernet





5, 7, 20 or 20






Flex 3000
















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beginning model for package wirelesss. It provides the native application

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programming interface ( API ) for USRP2 platforms. Since it is easier to manage information flow diagrammatically, GNU Radio offers with its application, GNU Radio Companion ( GRC ) , the possibility to organize a flow chart with graphical block elements.

This application provides legion predefined blocks, organized in different groups like signal beginnings, signal sinks or transition / demodulation maps [ 15 ] .

Scenarios of Matlab to GRC interactions were implemented, as an indirect functional flow between Matlab and USRP2, with moderate success, nevertheless, because of GRC ‘s limited development and functionality, .

When seeking to develop a Software Defined Radio Sensing Prototype, Matlab, with its extended DSP capablenesss, is the package model of pick. As of September 2010, Simulink – USRP2 interaction is natively supported by the freshly launched Matlab 2010b.

Simulink ‘s USRP2 Receiver block supports communicating between Simulink and a USRP2 board, leting simulation and development for assorted software-defined wireless applications. The USRP2 Receiver block enables communicating with a USRP2 board on the same Ethernet subnetwork [ 16 ] .

This block receives signal and command informations from a USRP2 board utilizing User Datagram Protocol ( UDP ) packages. Although the USRP2 Receiver block receives informations from a USRP2 board, the block acts as a Simulink beginning that outputs a column vector signal of fixed length and format ( 358×1 ) . Some USRP2 parametric quantities straight configurable through Simulink are cardinal runing frequence, addition and decimation [ 16 ] .

3. Experimental Setup and Results

As a cogent evidence of construct, for the proposed Sensing System architecture we have implemented a Radio Band Power Measurement System capable of executing a harsh Energy Detector feeling upon Digital Video Broadcasting – Terrestial ( DVB-T ) channels, by utilizing apriori cognition of the mark signal features ( i.e. frequence, bandwidth ) .

The system is comprised of a USRP2 SDR platform, with its aerial and WBX daughterboard which stand for the SDR Hardware Platform from Figure1, and a 2.6 GHz ( Intel Dual Core ) processor, 2 [ Gb ] RAM memory, computing machine which is represented by the Host Computer block in Figure1. The computing machine ‘s operating system is Linux Ubuntu 10.04 Lucid, while the specialised DSP particular package used is Matlab 2010b model ‘s Simulink. The latter two constituents constitute the System Software block from the general SDR based Sensing System architecture from Figure 1. For proving intents and preciseness appraisals, parallel measurings were carried out with a Signal Generator and a Vectorial Spectrum Analyzer ( VSA ) from Agilent Technologies. Besides, for guaranting Simulink ‘s compatibility with the USRP2 faculty, UDP protocol specific FPGA and Firmware images were used on the SDR platform.

3.1. Considerations about DVB-T

Channel Power Measurements

The System Software Block from Figure 1 is the nucleus of the full proposed Feeling System. It is here that all the wireless spectrum informations is collected by the SDR platform, ordered and interpreted harmonizing to the feeling algorithm. In this experimental execution we have chosen to use the Energy Detector algorithm, which is, in fact, a Fast Fourier Transform ( FFT ) coefficient based, power measuring. In Figure 2, the Simulink functional flow of this procedure is shown.

The USRP2 Receiver block is where USRP2 functional parametric quantities can be modified, even during executing. With the aid of Slider blocks, Central Frequency, Decimation and Gain can be adjusted. The USRP2 block needs the broadcast inactive IP,

In order to continue an accurate and coherent in writing representation of the acquired signals the sample clip has to esteem the undermentioned deduction:

ST is the Sample clip, M is the decimation, and R is USRP2 ‘s ADC transition rate.

In this instance, as the decimation rate has a value of 12, the sample clip will be 12e-8. The decimation value is restricted between a lower limit of 4 and a upper limit of 512, and needs to be a multiple of 4.

The elements of the USRP2 faculty ‘s end product vector are of type drifting point with dual preciseness, with 358x1fromat.

By implementing parametric quantity values of: Gain = 0 [ dubnium ] ; Central Frequency = 646 [ Mhz ] ; Decimation = 12 ; we will acquire a 348×1 end product vector that represents a frequence baseband of 8.33 [ MHz ] , with a cardinal frequence of 646 [ MHz ] .

Parallel measuring, conducted with a VSA, revealed that 646 [ MHz ] is the cardinal frequence of an 8 [ MHz ] DVB-T channel. This is the antecedently mentioned apriori cognition of the detection ‘s mark signal features.

Because of the difference in bandwidth, between a DVB-T channel and the 0.33 [ MHz ] gathered baseband, an extra “trimming” phase is necessary. The Rational Resampler block, in Figure 2 implements, alongside a specific Finite Impulse Response ( FIR ) filtrating procedure, a resampling of the 8.33 [ MHz ] baseband, with a fractional factor of 24/25, to the size of a DVB-T channel, 8 [ MHz ] .

Since the USRP2 vector ‘s native format is 358×1, an unbuffer – buffer operation is required in order to hold a. format. This is due to the fact that FFT blocks merely accept power of 2 formats. Consequently, we will hold an Unbuffer block, followed by a 2048Buffer block. The consequence is that the signal vector, now has a format of 2048×1.

The Magnitude FFT block outputs the magnitude coefficients of the input signal by agencies of FFT. The subcomponents of the block can be farther analyzed at [ 17 ] .

The end product is a figure of 2048 squared

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FFT coefficients of the input signal

The resulting coefficients are utilized in calculating the set power value [ 20 ] by utilizing the writers ‘ algorithm that is implemented in the Power usage block.

The determined Band Power value is so transformed into [ dBm ] , dBs referenced to 1 [ mW ] , in the block named dBm ( Figure 3 ) .

The undermentioned mathematical look reflects the functionality of the dBm block:

where P is the power ratio expressed in Watts and ten is the power ratio in [ dBm ] .

Parallel to the writers ‘ Feeling System, an array of control power measurings were made by agencies of an Agilent 86900 high-precision VSA connected within the same subnetwork with the host, which communicates straight with a VSA block [ 9 ] . The trial point was the end product of the Buffer block ( input of the Magnitude FFT block ) from Figure 2.

Multiple measurings over the class of several yearss and over a assortment of, bandwidths, spectral spheres and conditions have proven that the consequences from the two scenarios differ by a upper limit of 0.7 % , which validates our paradigm and our premises.

3.2. Power Measurement Algorithm

Harmonizing to [ 5 ] set power is straight relative with its magnitude. The Magnitude FFT block, computes 2048 FFT coefficients and squares them, in order to obtain the 2048 magnitude coefficients of an 8MHz frequence set. These parametric quantities are passed so towards the input of the Power block. This is where the value of the DVB-T channel power is computed. Figure.3 portrays the functional flow of this block and its subcomponents.

As indicated by [ 10 ] an Agilent VSA ( i.e. 35670A ) computes the set power by summing up all the squared FFT coefficients, and spliting the amount to the effectual bandwidth. The effectual

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bandwidth is the consequence of the division of the frequence span to the figure of FFT bins and subsequent generation by the window factor. The Windowss factor value is 1 for unvarying Windowss, 3.82 for Flat-topped Windowss or 1.5

The writers used a expression similar to the 1 that Matlab uses to calculate vectorial signals power [ 11 ] :

As a consequence of multiple trials and tests a to the full functional optimized algorithm for calculating the DVB-T channel power value was developed ( Figure.3 ) .

The first block after the input is a FIR filter, used for stamp downing non-linearities related to the FFT squared coefficients. Next up, is a Sum block. The ensuing amount is divided by the figure of squared FFT coefficients, but besides by 2 ( squared ) as to obtain RMS values. A division by the value of the buffer is besides necessary. A division by 50 [ Ohm ] , the value of a specific electric resistance, is the last measure before happening the channel power value in [ ?W ] .

4. Decisions and Future Development

In this paper the writers designed and developed a SDR based Cognitive Radio Sensing System with a really high functionality to be ratio. The writers so proceeded to formalize this paradigm by implementing a Band Power Sensing System based on the construct of Energy Detector Sensing. , which proved to supply important added value from the functionality to be ratio point of position, when compared to traditional detection architectures and systems.

The execution solution that the writers have opted for, was a functional flow based on the developed general feeling paradigm. The chosen SDR platform was Ettus Reasearch ‘s USRP2, while the DSP package opted for was Matlab 2010b ‘s Simulink. It was in this package that the Energy Detector feeling functional nucleus was implemented.

As farther developments, the writers considered bettering the Energy Detector feeling method from the functionality and preciseness point of position, by utilizing methods such as channel favoritism by Wavelet Packet Decomposition or feature sensing. This would be done with no extra hardware alterations to the paradigm ‘s architecture which is the quintessential advantage of utilizing SDR platforms.