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Heavy traffic over the unlicensed portion of the spectrum along with inefficient usage of the licensed spectrum gave impetus for a new spectrum allocation policy, the main purpose of which is to improve spectrum efficiency through opportunistic spectrum access. Cognitive radios have been proposed as a key enabling technology for such an opportunistic policy. One of the key challenges to enabling multihop CR communications is how to perform opportunistic medium access control while limiting the interference imposed on licensed users. In this paper, the authors highlight the unique characteristics of multihop cognitive radio networks, discuss key MAC design challenges specific to such networks, and present some of the work that has been done on MAC design for CRNs.
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