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Cognitive Radio (CR) is the key enabling technology for an efficient dynamic spectrum access. It aims at exploiting an underutilized licensed spectrum by enabling opportunistic communications for unlicensed users. In this paper, the authors first develop a distributed COgnitive radio MAC (COMAC) protocol that enables unlicensed users to dynamically utilize the spectrum while limiting the interference on PRimary (PR) users. The main novelty in COMAC lies in not assuming a predefined CR-to-PR power mask and not requiring active coordination with PR users. COMAC provides a statistical performance guarantee for PR users by limiting the fraction of the time during which the PR users' reception is negatively affected by CR transmissions.
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