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The main challenges of cognitive radio include spectrum sensing at the PHYsical (PHY) layer to detect the activity of primary users and spectrum sharing at the Medium Access Control (MAC) layer to coordinate access among coexisting secondary users. In this paper, the authors consider a cognitive radio network in which a primary user shares a channel with secondary users that cannot distinguish the signals of the primary user from those of a secondary user. They propose a class of distributed cognitive MAC protocols to achieve efficient spectrum sharing among the secondary users while protecting the primary user from potential interference by the secondary users.
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