The journal Sensors is currently running a Special Issue entitled Cognitive Radio Applications and Spectrum Management, with ORCA Project Coordinator Prof. Ingrid Moerman as Guest Editor.

Paper submissions are open, with deadline on March 10, 2021: all papers will be peer-reviewed and accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal, as well as listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited.

Wireless communication networks suffer from capacity bottlenecks because the amount of available spectrum is fixed, while wireless traffic demands keep growing by approximately 50% a year. This is particularly the case in the lower spectrum bands (< 7 GHz) exhibiting most favorable propagation properties, but mmWave bands are also becoming more crowded, both for terrestrial and satellite communications. Since the early days of wireless communication, wireless spectrum has been allocated according to a static frequency plan leading to many fixed frequency bands. Most of these bands are licensed for exclusive use by specific services or radio technologies, and the process for changing spectrum allocation is extremely slow (cf. spectrum allocation for 5G taking many years). Fixed, exclusive spectrum allocation is further characterized by severe overprovisioning and underutilization both in time and geographically, hence leading to a lot of waste of precious resources. Static frequency planning is obviously not a sustainable spectrum allocation model, leaving no room for future wireless services and new wireless actors.

There is no doubt that in order to increase spectrum utilization, allocation has to become more dynamic and the spectrum needs to be shared across wireless networks and network operators, not only in unlicensed but also in licensed spectrum bands. To this end, new mechanisms need to be explored for more dynamic spectrum allocation. Such techniques do not only involve cognitive radio and spectrum management capabilities but also require strategies for verification of spectrum usage ensuring interference free operation of multiple networks sharing the same spectrum and avoiding inappropriate or unauthorized use of the spectrum.

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