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Cognitive radio offers a promising technology to mitigate spectrum shortage in wireless communications. It enables Secondary Users (SUs) to opportunistically access low-occupancy primary spectral bands as long as their negative effect on the Primary User (PU) access is constrained. This PU protection requirement is particularly challenging for multiple SUs over a wide geographical area. In this paper, the authors study the fundamental performance limit on the throughput of cognitive radio networks under the PU packet collision constraint. With perfect sensing, they develop an optimum spectrum access strategy under generic PU traffic patterns. Without perfect sensing, they quantify the impact of missed detection and false alarm, and propose a modified threshold-based spectrum access strategy that achieves close-to-optimal performance.
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