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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter June 29, 2016

Cognitive Cellular Systems: A New Challenge on the RF Analog Frontend

Gabor Varga, Moritz Schrey, Iyappan Subbiah, Arun Ashok and Stefan Heinen
From the journal Frequenz


Cognitive Cellular Systems are seen today as one of the most promising ways of moving forward solving or at least easing the still worsening situation of congested spectrum caused by the growing number of users and the expectation of higher data transfer rates. As the intelligence of a Cognitive Radio system is located in the digital domain – the Cognitive Engine and associated layers – extensive research has been ongoing in that domain since Mitola published his idea in 1999. Since, a big progress has been made in the domain of architectures and algorithms making systems more efficient and highly flexible. The pace of this progress, however, is going to be impeded by hard requirements on the received and transmitted signal quality, introducing ultimate challenges on the performance of the RF analog frontend, such as in-band local oscillator harmonics, ultra low sensitivity and ultra high linearity. The RF frontend is thus likely to become the limiting technical factor in the true realization of a Cognitive Cellular System. Based on short recapitulations of the most crucial issues in RF analog design for Cognitive Systems, this article will point out why those mechanisms become responsible for the limitation of the overall performance particularly in a broadband Cognitive Cellular System. Furthermore, as part of a possible solution to ease the situation, system design of a high intermediate frequency (IF) to UHF frequency converter for cognitive radios is discussed and the performance of such a converter analyzed as a proof of concept. In addition to successfully tackling some of the challenges, such a high-IF converter enables white space operation for existing commercial devices by acting as frequency converter. From detailed measurements, the capabilities in both physical layer and application layer performance of a high-IF frontend developed out of off-the-shelf components is explained and is shown to provide negligible degradation to the commercial device being connected to.


The authors acknowledge the support of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) within the framework of the kogLTE project.


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Published Online: 2016-6-29
Published in Print: 2016-7-1

©2016 by De Gruyter

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