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Cognitive radio improves spectrum efficiency by allowing Secondary Users (SU) to dynamically exploit the idle spectrum owned by Primary Users (PU). This paper studies optimal bandwidth allocation for SUs. Consider the following tradeoff: a SU increases its instantaneous throughput by accessing larger bands, but channel switching overhead (due to the dynamics of PU activities) and contention among multiple SUs create higher liability for larger bandwidths. So how much is too much? In this paper, the authors find the optimal bandwidth allocation in both the single SU and multiple SU cases, accounting for the effects of channel switching overhead. Their result is validated through both numerical simulation and real channel activity traces.
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