UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Authentication and key management in heterogeneous wireless networks Al Shidhani, Ali


Interworking wireless technologies such as the Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN), the Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access (WiMAX) and mobile communication systems conforming to the Third-Generation Partnership Project (3GPP) standards forms a heterogeneous wireless network. Designing secure and efficient authentication protocols to enable fast connections to the heterogeneous network is challenging. Existing standard authentication protocols mandate users to perform authentication with authentication servers located in the 3GPP Home Network (3GHN). This approach is highly inefficient. Other research work suggested performance-enhanced protocols but introduced other problems such as degrading system security. This thesis presents the designs of authentication protocols that balance security and performance by applying minor modifications to the standard authentication protocols. The proposed protocols attempt to minimize the communications between users and the 3GHN during authentication. Several protocols are proposed in this thesis to address inefficient authentications in the heterogeneous network. Firstly, in 3GPP-WLAN interworking, we propose fast authentication protocols that expedite authenticating stationary and mobile users by completing authentications locally without contacting the 3GHN. The proposed protocols outperform standard protocols and support essential security requirements such as the adoption of a secure key management scheme. Secondly, in 3GPP-WiMAX interworking, we design two handover (HO) protocols that piggyback authentication queries on HO control messages to avoid initiating a separate authentication session after performing a HO. Our proposed protocols prove to accelerate the HO procedure and conserve users’ computing resources. Important security qualities such as the provision of forward and backward secrecy are also maintained by our proposed protocols. Thirdly, we design six re-authentication protocols to improve HOs between 3GPP, WiMAX and WLAN systems. The proposed protocols capitalize on the execution of an initial extensive authentication protocol to enable successive expedited HO re-authentications. Remarkable performance improvements are achieved when adopting our proposed protocols compared to standard protocols. Lastly, we propose protocols to enable efficient and secure multi-hop accesses to the heterogeneous network. A secure multi-hop authentication protocol and a secure multi-hop Mobile IP registration scheme are designed. Our scheme surpasses competitive schemes in terms of registration delay and power consumption while resisting against security attacks existing in the multi-hop network.

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