Cognitive Radio

What Does Cognitive Radio Mean?

Cognitive radio is a special kind of smart radio transceiver hardware that automatically detects all available wireless channels on a spectrum, facilitating changes to its reception or transmission parameters, which allows the concurrent transmission of multiple additional wireless communications in a location’s given spectrum. This process is known as dynamic spectrum management.


Cognitive radio’s main purpose is to detect and share unused spectrum with other systems without creating harmful interference. This includes spectrum management, or finding the best available spectrum to meet user communication requirements.

Techopedia Explains Cognitive Radio

Cognitive radio was first proposed in a 1998 seminar by Joseph Mitola III at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. A year later, this new wireless communication approach was published in an article by Mitola and Gerald Maguire Jr. At first, it was foreseen as a software-defined radio extension – full cognitive radio – in which all observable wireless node parameters are considered. This was Mitola’s original idea, but most modern research of this technology focuses on spectrum-sensing cognitive radio, which is simpler. The main hindrance to cognitive radio, however, is actually designing a high-quality sensing device and accompanying algorithms for exchanging spectrum-sensing data between different nodes, as simple energy detectors cannot guarantee accurate signal detection.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.