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The issues affect the existing routing metrics for cognitive radio ad hoc networks: they are often based on heuristics, and thus they have not been proved to be optimal; they do not account for the route diversity effects, and thus they are not able to measure the actual cost of a route. In this paper, an optimal routing metric for cognitive radio ad hoc networks, referred to as OPERA, is proposed. OPERA is designed to achieve two features: Optimality: OPERA is optimal when combined with both Dijkstra and Bellman-Ford based routing protocols; Accuracy: OPERA exploits the route diversity provided by the intermediate nodes to measure the actual end-to-end delay, by taking explicitly into account the unique characteristics of cognitive radio networks.
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