Cooperative sensing with imperfect reporting channels: Hard decisions or soft decisions?

Sachin Chaudhari, Jarmo Lundén, Visa Koivunen, H. Vincent Poor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

247 Scopus citations


This paper focuses on the performance analysis and comparison of hard decision (HD) and soft decision (SD) based approaches for cooperative spectrum sensing in the presence of reporting channel errors. For cooperative sensing (CS) in cognitive radio networks, a distributed detection approach with displaced sensors and a fusion center (FC) is employed. For HD based CS, each secondary user (SU) sends a one-bit hard local decision to the FC. For SD based CS, each SU sends a quantized version of a local decision statistic such as the log-likelihood ratio or any suitable sufficient statistic. The decision statistics are sent through channels that may cause errors. The effects of channel errors are incorporated in the analysis through the bit error probability (BEP). For HD based CS, the counting rule or the K-out-of-N rule is used at the FC. For SD based CS, the optimal fusion rule in the presence of reporting channel errors is derived and its distribution is established. A comparison of the two schemes is conducted to show that there is a performance gain in using SD based CS even in the presence of reporting channel errors. In addition, a BEP wall is shown to exist for CS such that if the BEP is above a certain value, then irrespective of the received signal strength corresponding to the primary user, the constraints on false alarm probability and detection probability cannot be met. It is shown that the performance of HD based CS is very sensitive to the BEP wall phenomenon while the SD based CS is more robust in that sense.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6036191
Pages (from-to)18-28
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Transactions on Signal Processing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Signal Processing
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • BEP wall
  • counting rule
  • distributed sensing
  • multi-bit decision statistics
  • performance analysis


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