Open Access

Efficient Path Key Establishment for Wireless Sensor Networks

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20082008:456703

Received: 13 June 2007

Accepted: 11 February 2008

Published: 21 February 2008


Key predistribution schemes have been proposed as means to overcome wireless sensor network constraints such as limited communication and processing power. Two sensor nodes can establish a secure link with some probability based on the information stored in their memories, though it is not always possible that two sensor nodes may set up a secure link. In this paper, we propose a new approach that elects trusted common nodes called "Proxies" which reside on an existing secure path linking two sensor nodes. These sensor nodes are used to send the generated key which will be divided into parts (nuggets) according to the number of elected proxies. Our approach has been assessed against previously developed algorithms, and the results show that our algorithm discovers proxies more quickly which are closer to both end nodes, thus producing shorter path lengths. We have also assessed the impact of our algorithm on the average time to establish a secure link when the transmitter and receiver of the sensor nodes are "ON." The results show the superiority of our algorithm in this regard. Overall, the proposed algorithm is well suited for wireless sensor networks.

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Authors’ Affiliations

The Institute of Electronics, Communications and Information Technology, Queen's University of Belfast


© Noureddine Mehallegue et al. 2008

This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.