Security is of paramount importance to the design of modern day communications systems and in particular for wireless ad hoc networks. An ad hoc network is a collection of information technology devices such as PDAs or sensors, which can form a communications network without the need for a wireless communication interface. Due to the limited range of each device's wireless transmission, a device can forward information via other devices to its desired destination. Ad hoc networks have unique characteristics over typical wireless networks. When providing security these characteristics must be taken into account.

The main objectives of the proposed research are to develop secure authentication and key management protocols specific to the needs of ad hoc networks. Recent work in this area has been carried out in collaboration with Dr Ghazanfar Safdar, University of Bedfordshire. To date, this has led to the development of a novel authentication protocol for ad hoc network security, called RASCAAL.

Randomly Shifted Certification Authority Authentication Protocol (RASCAAL)

  • Designed for heterogeneous ad hoc networks
  • Employs TTPs for authentication purposes, to hold public key certificates and act as certification authorities (CAs)
  • RASCAAL takes into account characteristics of underlying IEEE 802.11 MAC by integration with CSMA/CA medium access rules
  • It implements a random ACTIVE CA selection & CA role shift
  • The first authentication protocol to propose concept of dynamically formed short-lived random clusters with no prior knowledge of cluster head