Cognitive Communication involves smart wireless communications systems/networks consisting of cognitive radios that are aware of their radio environment and capable of learning and adapting their performance in order to meet the users’ needs and/or to achieve network objectives such as quality of service (QoS), highly reliable communication, and efficient use of radio spectrum. Cognitive communications technology is built upon various advanced technologies in software defined radio, artificial intelligence (AI), signal processing, smart antennas, and RF communications.
In other words, a cognitive radio is a software defined radio with a “cognitive engine” brain. Conceptually, the cognitive engine responds to the operator’s commands by configuring the radio for the required combination of waveform, protocol, operating frequency, and networking. It continuously monitors its own performance, reads the radio’s outputs to determine the RF environment, channel conditions, link performance, etc., and adjusts the radio’s settings to deliver the needed QoS subject to an appropriate combination of user requirements, operational limitations, and regulatory constraints. We call these processes “reading the radio’s meters” and “turning the radio’s knobs” for short.
Cognitive communications will open up new spectrum, support new applications, and improve the QoS for emerging standards in wireless communications. This emerging research area, with its flexibility for dynamically accessing spectrum, will likely transform the communications and computing industries within the next decade.