This paper provides an analytic performance evaluation of the bit error rate (BER) of underlay decode-and-forward cognitive networks with best relay selection over Rayleigh multipath fading channels. A generalized BER expression valid for arbitrary operational parameters is firstly presented in the form of a single integral, which is then employed for determining the diversity order and coding gain for different best relay selection scenarios. Furthermore, a novel and highly accurate closed-form approximate BER expression is derived for the specific case where relays are located relatively close to each other.
The presented results are rather convenient to handle both analytically and numerically, while they are shown to be in good agreement with results from respective computer simulations. In addition, it is shown that as in the case of conventional relaying networks, the behaviour of underlay relaying cognitive networks with best relay selection depends significantly on the number of involved relays.