Decentralized Spectrum Access System: Vision, Challenges, and a Blockchain Solution

Yang Xiao, Shanghao Shi, Wenjing Lou, Chonggang Wang, Xu Li, Ning Zhang, Y. Thomas Hou, Jeffrey H. Reed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Spectrum access system (SAS) is widely considered the de facto solution to coordinating dynamic spectrum sharing (DSS) and protecting incumbent users. The current SAS paradigm prescribed by the FCC for the CBRS band and standardized by the WInnForum follows a centralized service model in that a spectrum user subscribes to a SAS server for spectrum allocation service. This model, however, neither tolerates SAS server failures (crash or Byzantine) nor resists dishonest SAS administrators, leading to serious concerns about SAS system reliability and trustworthiness. This is especially concerning for the evolving DSS land-scape where an increasing number of SAS service providers and heterogeneous user requirements are coming up. To address these challenges, we propose a novel blockchain-based decentralized SAS architecture called BD-SAS that provides SAS services securely and efficiently, without relying on the trust of each individual SAS server for the overall system trustworthiness. In BD-SAS, a global blockchain (G-Chain) is used for spectrum regulatory compliance while smart contract-enabled local blockchains (L-Chains) are instantiated in individual spectrum zones for automating spectrum access assignment per user request. We hope our vision of a decentralized SAS, the BD-SAS architecture, and discussion on future challenges can open up a new direction toward reliable spectrum management in a decentralized manner.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)220-228
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Wireless Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2002-2012 IEEE.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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