In this study, a new network architecture based on the software-defined networking (SDN) approach is proposed for cognitive radio networks (CRNs). The proposed network architecture [software-defined cognitive radio (SDCR)] assumes the responsibilities of network resource management for CRNs and provides a dynamic spectrum management mechanism with an SDN controller. In this way, the dependency of network users on base stations is reduced in dynamic cognitive radio environments, and network performance is improved by delegating some of the management responsibilities to the controller. The performance analysis of the SDCR is carried out through the RIVERBED MODELER simulation software. End-to-end delays and packet loss rates for the primary network are investigated by selecting different offered loads for secondary users. In addition, for the equal and different packet sizes, primary network and SDCR throughput are examined and network performance is improved by using channel bonding technique. The results indicate that the SDCR outperforms the traditional CRN architecture, in terms of the throughput, and the proposed architecture can provide effective performance. Bit error rate parameter is investigated in the study and the energy consumption parameter of the SDCR is also compared with the cognitive radio wireless network.