Abstract:In this paper, different control channel (CC) implementations for multichannel medium access control (MAC) algorithms are compared and analyzed in the context of opportunistic spectrum access (OSA) as a function of spectrum-sensing performance and licensed user activity. The analysis is based on a discrete Markov chain model of a subset of representative multichannel OSA MAC classes that incorporates physical layer effects, such as spectrum sensing and fading. The analysis is complemented with extensive simulations. The major observations are given as follows: 1) When the CC is implemented through a dedicated channel, sharing such dedicated channel with the licensed user does not significantly decrease the throughput achieved by the OSA network when the data packet sizes are sufficiently large or the number of considered data channels is small. 2) Hopping OSA MACs, where the CC is spread over all channels, are less susceptible to licensed user activity than those with a dedicated CC (in terms of both average utilization and on/off times). 3) Scanning efficiency has a large impact on the achievable performance of licensed and OSA users for all analyzed protocols. 4) The multiple rendezvous MAC class, which has yet to be proposed in OSA literature, outperforms all the multichannel MAC designs analyzed in this paper.