Cognitive radio (CR) is a novel and promising spectrum management technique, which aims to cope with the spectrum scarcity problem occurring in unlicensed
bands and alleviate the inefficient spectrum utilization of licensed bands. To ensure that the operation of licensed users will not be adversely affected and that the licensed bands can be efficiently utilized by unlicensed users, this paper proposes a cognitive radio MAC protocol called SMC-CR-MAC. When any primary user is detected, the proposed SMC-CR-MAC protocol applies Contiguous Channel Switching and Sender-Receiver Channel Swap rules to cope with the rendezvous, packet collision, and channel congestion problems. Simulation results show that the proposed SMC-CR-MAC protocol can significantly improve the network performance in terms of utilization of licensed bands, standard deviation of traffic load on each channel, and probability of successful rendezvous.