In cognitive radio systems, employing sensing-based spectrum access strategies, secondary users are required to perform channel sensing to detect the activities of licensed primary users in a channel, and in realistic scenarios, channel sensing occurs with possible errors due to miss-detections and false alarms. As another challenge, time-varying fading conditions in the channel between the secondary transmitter and the secondary receiver have to be learned via channel estimation. In this paper, performance of causal channel estimation methods in correlated cognitive radio channels under imperfect channel sensing results is analyzed, and achievable rates for reliable communication under both channel and sensing uncertainty are investigated by considering the input-output mutual information. Initially, cognitive radio channel model with channel sensing error and channel estimation is described. Then, using pilot symbols, minimum mean square error (MMSE) and linear-MMSE (L-MMSE) estimation methods are employed at the secondary receiver to learn the channel fading coefficients.
Expressions for the channel estimates and mean-squared errors (MSE) are determined, and their dependencies on channel sensing results, and pilot symbol period and energy are investigated. Since sensing uncertainty leads to uncertainty in the variance of the additive disturbance, channel estimation strategies and performance are interestingly shown to depend on the sensing reliability. It is further shown that the L-MMSE estimation method, which is in general suboptimal, performs very close to MMSE estimation. Furthermore, assuming the channel estimation errors and the interference introduced by the primary users as zero-mean and Gaussian distributed, achievable rate expressions of linear modulation schemes and Gaussian signaling are determined. Subsequently, the training period, and data and pilot symbol energy allocations are jointly optimized to maximize the achievable rates for both signalin- schemes.