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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/D053285/1
Title: Effective key management techniques for wireless sensor networks
Principal Investigator: Martin, Professor K
Other Investigators:
Blackburn, Professor S Schwiderski-Grosche, Dr S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Department: Mathematics
Organisation: Royal Holloway, Univ of London
Scheme: Standard Research (Pre-FEC)
Starts: 28 February 2007 Ends: 27 April 2010 Value (£): 162,659
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Fundamentals of Computing Logic & Combinatorics
Networks & Distributed Systems
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
Related Grants:
Panel History:  
Summary on Grant Application Form
Advances in technology are making it possible to install small computers capable of communicating with one another in almost any device. Wireless sensor networks are one emergent technology that is attracting a great deal of attention. Sensors are tiny inexpensive low-powered processing devices that have limited power but are capable of communicating over wireless links. They can be physically scattered (for example by aeroplane) over difficult terrain (such as during a disaster relief operation or scientific investigation of a volcanic crater) and used to obtain and communicate valuable data. One of the major challenges in designing such networks is to provide security (such as authentication of sensors, integrity of exchanged data or secrecy of communications). These services are provided by the use of cryptographic mechanisms, which themselves depend on reliable distribution and management of cryptographic keys. Key management presents a particular challenge in wireless sensor networks because the sensors are physically fragile, there is no significant infrastructure in place in a sensor network and because the physical location of the sensors can not normally be predicted in advance of the establishment of the network. This project will study the problem of key management in wireless sensor networks. The first goal of the project will be to design mathematical models that can be used to analyse key management mechanisms. These models will also allow the efficiency, strength and scalability (ability to support large networks) of key management mechanisms to be analysed and compared. Unfortunately it is unlikely that key management mechanisms can be designed that simultaneously have all three of these desirable properties at an optimal level. Thus the second goal of the project will be to determine the tradeoffs that are likely to be necessary between these features. Thirdly the project will design a range of different key management techniques with desirable properties that can be used in wireless sensor networks.Wireless sensor networks are an emerging technology and so it is very important that this project pays close attention to technological developments. There are also currently no widely adopted network architectures for wireless sensor networks and so this project will address the above issues across a range of different state-of-the-art architectures. This project will provide a suite of effective key management techniques that will be of significant value to designers of future wireless sensor networks and help to ensure that their deployment provides a safe and reliable environment for their many useful and important applications.
Key Findings
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