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  • Research Article
  • Open Access

A Robust on-Demand Path-Key Establishment Framework via Random Key Predistribution for Wireless Sensor Networks

EURASIP Journal on Wireless Communications and Networking20062006:091304

Received: 2 October 2005

Accepted: 12 January 2006

Published: 20 March 2006


Secure communication is a necessity for some wireless sensor network (WSN) applications. However, the resource constraints of a sensor render existing cryptographic systems for traditional network systems impractical for a WSN. Random key predistribution scheme has been proposed to overcome these limits. In this scheme, a ring of keys is randomly drawn from a large key pool and assigned to a sensor. Nodes sharing common keys can communicate securely using a shared key, while a path-key is established for those nodes that do not share any common keys. This scheme requires moderate memory and processing power, thus it is considered suitable for WSN applications. However, since the shared key is not exclusively owned by the two end entities, the established path-key may be revealed to other nodes just by eavesdropping. Based on the random-key predistribution scheme, we present a framework that utilizes multiple proxies to secure the path-key establishment. Our scheme is resilient against node capture, collusive attack, and random dropping, while only incurring a small amount of overhead. Furthermore, the scheme ensures that, with high probability, all path-keys are exclusively known by the two end nodes involved in the communication along the path.


  • Wireless Sensor Network
  • Secure Communication
  • Establishment Framework
  • Processing Power
  • Moderate Memory


Authors’ Affiliations

Department of Computer Science, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, USA
Department of Computer Science, University of Texas at Dallas, Richardson, USA


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© Guanfeng Li et al. 2006

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.