Energy-Memory-Security Tradeoffs in Distributed Sensor Networks

David D. Hwang, Bo-Cheng Lai, Ingrid Verbauwhede

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Security for sensor networks is challenging due to the resource-constrained nature of individual nodes, particularly their energy limitations. However, designing merely for energy savings may not result in a suitable security architecture. This paper investigates the inherent tradeoffs involved between energy, memory, and security robustness in distributed sensor networks. As a driver for the investigation, we introduce an energy-scalable key establishment protocol called cluster key grouping, which takes into account resource limitations in sensor nodes. We then define a metric (the security leakage factor) to quantify security robustness in a system. Finally, a framework called the security-memoryenergy (SME) curve is presented that is used to evaluate and quantify the multi-metric tradeoffs involved in security design.


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