From Blindness to Foraging to Sensing to Sociality: an Evolutionary Perspective on Cognitive Radio Networks

  • Anna Wisniewska
  • Mohammad Abu Shattal
  • Bilal Khan
  • Ala Al-Fuqaha
  • Kirk Dombrowski


Wireless communication is an increasingly important aspect of the digital ecosystem. The Internet of Things reached 4+ billion devices in 2014, and is expected to exceed 25 billion by 2020. In this paper, we formalize the notion of evolutionary pressures in Cognitive Radio (CR) societies, and show how it can be expected to drive the emergence of more advanced sensing capabilities, and correspondingly more sophisticated models of resource sharing. We put forth four evolutionary stages for CR societies, based on well-established biological analogs, and demonstrate that at each stage of CR evolution, a subpopulation that is able to engage more advanced sensing capabilities and co-use strategies is able to better extract greater utility from spectrum resources. In this manner, we see that each stage of CR evolution prepares the way for the next: the present societies of non-foragers facilitate the emergence of foragers; foragers give way to contention-sensing rational CR societies; these, in turn, will likely facilitate the emergence of sociality. We find this progression to depend crucially in population size, and to be robust to consideration of primary user activity. We use a sensitivity analysis to isolate salient factors most likely to accelerate or inhibit the anticipated natural evolutionary trajectory.


Internet of things Cognitive radio networks Dynamic spectrum access Behavioral-ecological networks Self-coexsitence 



This project was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation program for Enhancing Access to Radio Spectrum (#1443985), supported by the Directorates for Mathematical and Physical Sciences (MPS), Engineering (ENG), and Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE). The opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the National Science Foundation.


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.City University of New York, GCNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.University of Nebraska-LincolnLincolnUSA
  3. 3.Western Michigan UniversityKalamazooUSA

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