Theses Doctoral

Compressive Sampling as an Enabling Solution for Energy-Efficient and Rapid Wideband RF Spectrum Sensing in Emerging Cognitive Radio Systems

Yazicigil, Rabia Tugce

Wireless systems have become an essential part of every sector of the national and global economy. In addition to existing commercial systems including GPS, mobile cellular, and WiFi communications, emerging systems like video over wireless, the Internet of Things, and machine-to-machine communications are expected to increase mobile wireless data traffic by several orders of magnitude over the coming decades, while natural resources like energy and radio spectrum remain scarce. The projected growth of the number of connected nodes into the trillions in the near term and increasing user demand for instantaneous, over-the-air access to large volumes of content will require a 1000-fold increase in network wireless data capacity by 2020. Spectrum is the lifeblood of these future wireless networks and the ’data storm’ driven by emerging technologies will lead to a pressing ’artificial’ spectrum scarcity.
Cognitive radio is a paradigm proposed to overcome the existing challenge of underutilized spectrum. Emerging cognitive radio systems employing multi-tiered, shared-spectrum access are expected to deliver superior spectrum efficiency over existing scheduled-access systems; they have several device categories (3 or more tiers) with different access privileges. We focus on lower tiered ’smart’ devices that evaluate the spectrum dynamically and opportunistically use the underutilized spectrum. These ’smart’ devices require spectrum sensing for incumbent detection and interferer avoidance. Incumbent detection will rely on database lookup or narrowband high-sensitivity sensing. Integrated interferer detectors, on the other hand, need to be fast, wideband, and energy efficient, while requiring only moderate sensitivity.
These future 'smart' devices operating in small cell environments will need to rapidly (in 10s of μs) detect a few (e.g. 3 to 6) strong interferers within roughly a 1GHz span and accordingly reconfigure their hardware resources or request adjustments to their wireless connection consisting of primary and secondary links in licensed and unlicensed spectrum.
Compressive sampling (CS), an evolutionary sensing/sampling paradigm that changes the perception of sampling, has been extensively used for image reconstruction. It has been shown that a single pixel camera that exploits CS has the ability to obtain an image with a single detection element, while measuring the image fewer times than the number of pixels with the prior assumption of sparsity. We exploited CS in the presented works to take a ’snapshot’ of the spectrum with low energy consumption and high frequency resolutions.
Compressive sampling is applied to break the fixed trade-off between scan time, resolution bandwidth, hardware complexity, and energy consumption. This contrasts with traditional spectrum scanning solutions, which have constant energy consumption in all architectures to first order and a fixed trade-off between scan time and resolution bandwidth. Compressive sampling enables energy-efficient, rapid, and wideband spectrum sensing with high frequency resolutions at the expense of degraded instantaneous dynamic range due to the noise folding.
We have developed a quadrature analog-to-information converter (QAIC), a novel CS rapid spectrum sensing technique for band-pass signals. Our first wideband, energy-efficient, and rapid interferer detector end-to-end system with a QAIC senses a wideband 1GHz span with a 20MHz resolution bandwidth and successfully detects up to 3 interferers in 4.4μs. The QAIC offers 50x faster scan time compared to traditional sweeping spectrum scanners and 6.3x the compressed aggregate sampling rate of traditional concurrent Nyquist-rate approaches. The QAIC is estimated to be two orders of magnitude more energy efficient than traditional spectrum scanners/sensors and one order of magnitude more energy efficient than existing low-pass CS spectrum sensors.
We implemented a CS time-segmented quadrature analog-to-information converter (TS-QAIC) that extends the physical hardware through time segmentation (e.g. 8 physical I/Q branches to 16 I/Q through time segmentation) and employs adaptive thresholding to react to the signal conditions without additional silicon cost and complexity. The TS-QAIC rapidly detects up to 6 interferers in the PCAST spectrum between 2.7 and 3.7GHz with a 10.4μs sensing time for a 20MHz RBW with only 8 physical I/Q branches while consuming 81.2mW from a 1.2V supply.
The presented rapid sensing approaches enable system scaling in multiple dimensions such as ADC bits, the number of samples, and the number of branches to meet user performance goals (e.g. the number of detectable interferers, energy consumption, sensitivity and scan time).
We envision that compressive sampling opens promising avenues towards energy-efficient and rapid sensing architectures for future cognitive radio systems utilizing multi-tiered, shared spectrum access.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Electrical Engineering
Thesis Advisors
Kinget, Peter R.
Wright, John N.
Ph.D., Columbia University
Published Here
April 4, 2016