Modeling pairwise key establishment for random key predistribution in large-scale sensor networks

Dijiang Huang, Manish Mehta, Appie van de Liefvoort, Deep Medhi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Sensor networks are composed of a large number of low power sensor devices. For secure communication among sensors, secret keys are required to be established between them. Considering the storage limitations and the lack of post-deployment configuration information of sensors, Random Key Predistribution schemes have been proposed. Due to limited number of keys, sensors can only share keys with a subset of the neighboring sensors. Sensors then use these neighbors to establish pairwise keys with the remaining neighbors. In order to study the communication overhead incurred due to pairwise key establishment, we derive probability models to design and analyze pairwise key establishment schemes for large-scale sensor networks. Our model applies the binomial distribution and a modified binomial distribution and analyzes the key path length in a hop-by-hop fashion. We also validate our models through a systematic validation procedure. We then show the robustness of our results and illustrate how our models can be used for addressing sensor network design problems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1204-1215
Number of pages12
JournalIEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2007


  • Random key distributions
  • Security
  • Sensor networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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