Polarity-coincidence-array based spectrum sensing for multiple antenna cognitive radios in the presence of non-gaussian noise

Thakshila Wimalajeewa, Pramod K. Varshney

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations


One of the main requirements of cognitive radio (CR) systems is the ability to perform spectrum sensing in a reliable manner in challenging environments that arise due to propagation channels which undergo multipath fading and non-Gaussian noise. While most existing literature on spectrum sensing has focused on impairments introduced by additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN), this assumption fails to model the behavior of certain types of noise found in practice. In this paper, the use of a non-parametric and easily implementable detection device, namely the polarity-coincidence-array (PCA) detector, is proposed for the detection of weak primary signals with a cognitive radio equipped with multiple antennas. Its performance is evaluated in the presence of heavy-tailed noise. The detector performance in terms of the probabilities of detection and false alarm is derived when the communication channels between the primary user transmitter and the multiple antennas at the cognitive radio are AWGN as well as when they undergo Rayleigh fading. From the numerical results, it is observed that a significant performance enhancement is achieved by the PCA detector compared to that of the energy detector with AWGN as well as fading channels as the heaviness of the tail of the non-Gaussian noise increases.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number5773458
Pages (from-to)2362-2371
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2011


  • Cognitive radio
  • Rayleigh fading
  • non-Gaussian noise
  • polarity-coincidence-array detectors
  • spectrum sensing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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