Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date



Establishing secure communication channels in sensor networks is made especially difficult because of low power resources, hostile environments, and wireless communication. The power requirements of traditional cryptographic methods create the need for alternative strategies for secure communication in sensor networks. This thesis explores key distribution techniques in sensor networks. Specifically, we study in depth one method that enables sensors to establish pairwise secure communication channels. This strategy relies on a cooperative set of peer sensors to construct a unique key between two sensors. We built a unique network simulator to test secure communication parameters in a typical deployment scenario. This research tests the strategy by which the cooperative set of sensors is chosen. The results demonstrate that a strategy favoring neighbor nodes consumes significantly less energy than other alternatives at the expense of vulnerability to geographically localized attacks.


sensor networks, secure, channel, network, sensor, key management

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Shu, Wei Wennie

Second Committee Member

Maccabe, Arthur B. "Barney'