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The authors consider spectrum opportunity detection in cognitive radio networks for spectrum overlay. They highlight the differences between detecting primary signals and detecting spectrum opportunities. They show that besides noise and fading, the geographic distribution and traffic pattern of primary users have significant impact on the performance of spectrum opportunity detection. A necessary and sufficient condition for the equivalence between primary signal detection and spectrum opportunity detection is obtained, and the performance of listen-before talk in a Poisson primary network with uniform traffic pattern is analyzed.
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