Blockchain for Dynamic Spectrum Access and Network Slicing: A Review

Sidra Tul Muntaha, Pavlos Lazaridis, Maryam Hafeez, Qasim Ahmed, Faheem Khan, Zaharias Zaharis

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Dynamic spectrum access (DSA) and network slicing are some of the principal concepts to realize the emerging applications in Beyond 5th Generation (B5G) and 6th Generation (6G) networks. The frequency spectrum remains scarce and underutilized, while the performance requirements in terms of data throughput and latency of the network tenants have diversified. DSA allows for the efficient utilization of spectrum resources, while network slicing aims to serve network users with highly distinctive service needs. Lack of incentivization, sharing of spectrum resources among multiple operators, and lack of trust between operators are some of the challenges faced by centralized DSA approaches. Similarly, secure network slice orchestration, slice-isolation, secure access to network resources, privacy of user sensitive data, assuring the provision of Service Level Agreements (SLAs), are some of the challenges in existing network slicing techniques. Blockchain due to its innate capabilities can be a promising technology to solve the key issues pertaining to current DSA and network slicing approaches. Blockchain through smart contracts, provides traceability of network resources, auditability and accountability of network operators and service providers. Smart contracts facilitate the automation of resource sharing and network slice orchestration, while ensuring that SLAs are met, and network operators are compensated. This paper first provides a comprehensive overview of the DSA concept, the existing DSA techniques, and the challenges posed by these techniques. This is followed by a detailed description of network slicing, its key elements and architecture, various network slicing parameters, existing network slicing techniques and their challenges. Then an in-depth review on blockchain, its working principle, factors that affect blockchain implementation, and a comparison of various open-source blockchain platforms that support smart contracts is presented. This discussion is summarized by presenting the state-of-the-art in the blockchain-enabled DSA and network slicing, challenges and trade-offs of these techniques, and the gaps and future directions in this research area. Finally, we conclude by providing some future research directions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17922-17944
Number of pages23
JournalIEEE Access
Early online date10 Feb 2023
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2023


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