Research Summaries

Back 6LoWPAN: Enabling Secure IP Links over IEEE 802.15.4 for Low Power Wireless Networks

Fiscal Year 2016
Division Research & Sponsored Programs
Department Naval Research Program
Investigator(s) Thulasiraman, Preetha
Sponsor NPS Naval Research Program (Navy)
Summary Low power wireless networks use the IEEE 802.15.4 standard which is a data link and physical layer protocol that provides communications between low power devices. While 802.15 .4 is a prudent and effective technology, it is a point to point communications link. This can be limiting to applications that require an end-to-end solution. To provide connectivity between handheld devices and the tactical data network found in a Combat Operations Center (COC), low power wireless networks must use an IP based approach. In order for devices operating on 802.15.4 data links to communicate with IP based systems within the MAGTF, the 802.15.4 network requires gateways to provide functional translation. A protocol that is end-to-end and does not require translation would provide deployment flexibility, reduce workload on Marines in the COC, and accelerate the rate at which information can populate the common operational picture. The IETF's 6Lo WPAN is a protocol for seamlessly integrating 802.15 .4 wireless networks with 1Pv4/1Pv6. 6Lo WP AN offers interoperability with wireless 802.15.4 low power devices and with devices on other IP network links (e.g., Ethernet or Wi-Fi). This interoperability will improve communications over low power networks by providing cohesive connectivity to all components in a given system. Our objectives are 1) study 6Lo WPAN for low power wireless devices within the MAGTF framework and show that the design is feasible and practical in implementation for static and mobile wireless sensor deployment in terms of data forwarding; 2) the security of 6Lo WP AN depends on the 802 .15 .4 security sublayer which supports pairwise and broadcast encryption keys. Currently, the establishment of pairwise keys is unspecified and the use of broadcast keys is not compromise resilient. We will study energy-efficient 802.15 .4 security add-ons while remaining adaptable to different threat models for both static wireless sensor networks and mobile sensor networks.
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