A MAC protocol for link maintenance in multichannel cognitive radio ad hoc networks To provide an efficient link maintenance approach, we propose a cross layer medium access control (LM-MAC) protocol for multichannel cognitive radio ad hoc networks. Link establishment and reliable transmission are two key problems for a perfect link maintenance mechanism. Since the cognitive user (CU) pairs have to reestablish their links each frame, in the proposed MAC protocol, three different access modes are designed to guarantee transmission efficiency in continuous frames. To enhance the transmission reliability, each CU will create a father spectrum list (FSL) after joining in the network. FSL is divided into three groups of sub-channels with different functions to compensate the packet loss caused by the primary users’ appearance and the deep fading. Meanwhile, since the transmitter and the receiver will share the same FSL, periodical cooperative sensing is adopted to further optimize the former problem. Finally, compared with the existing opportunistic multichannel (OMC)-MAC protocol, the proposed LM-MAC protocol achieves better system performance in terms of saturation throughput, continuity and access delay.