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  • 1045-9219 (c) 2013 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See for more information.

    This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI10.1109/TPDS.2014.2318296, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems


    Cost-Aware SEcure Routing (CASER) ProtocolDesign for Wireless Sensor Networks

    Di Tang Tongtong Li Jian Ren Jie Wu

    AbstractLifetime optimization and security are two conflictingdesign issues for multi-hop wireless sensor networks (WSNs)with non-replenishable energy resources. In this paper, we firstpropose a novel secure and efficient Cost-Aware SEcure Routing(CASER) protocol to address these two conflicting issues throughtwo adjustable parameters: energy balance control (EBC) andprobabilistic-based random walking. We then discover that theenergy consumption is severely disproportional to the uniformenergy deployment for the given network topology, which greatlyreduces the lifetime of the sensor networks. To solve this problem,we propose an efficient non-uniform energy deployment strategyto optimize the lifetime and message delivery ratio under thesame energy resource and security requirement. We also providea quantitative security analysis on the proposed routing protocol.Our theoretical analysis and OPNET simulation results demon-strate that the proposed CASER protocol can provide an excellenttradeoff between routing efficiency and energy balance, and cansignificantly extend the lifetime of the sensor networks in allscenarios. For the non-uniform energy deployment, our analysisshows that we can increase the lifetime and the total number ofmessages that can be delivered by more than four times underthe same assumption. We also demonstrate that the proposedCASER protocol can achieve a high message delivery ratio whilepreventing routing traceback attacks.

    Index Termsrouting, security, energy efficiency, energy bal-ance, delivery ratio, deployment, simulation


    The recent technological advances make wireless sensornetworks (WSNs) technically and economically feasible to bewidely used in both military and civilian applications, such asmonitoring of ambient conditions related to the environment,precious species and critical infrastructures. A key featureof such networks is that each network consists of a largenumber of untethered and unattended sensor nodes. Thesenodes often have very limited and non-replenishable energyresources, which makes energy an important design issue forthese networks.

    Routing is another very challenging design issue for WSNs.A properly designed routing protocol should not only ensurea high message delivery ratio and low energy consumption formessage delivery, but also balance the entire sensor networkenergy consumption, and thereby extend the sensor networklifetime.

    Di Tang, Tongtong Li and Jian Ren are with the Department of Electrical andComputer Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI 48824-1226. Email: {ditony, tongli, renjian}

    Jie Wu is with the Department of Computer and Information Sciences,Temple University, Philadelphia, PA 19122. Email:

    In addition to the aforementioned issues, WSNs rely on wire-less communications, which is by nature a broadcast medium. Itis more vulnerable to security attacks than its wired counterpartdue to lack of a physical boundary. In particular, in the wirelesssensor domain, anybody with an appropriate wireless receivercan monitor and intercept the sensor network communications.The adversaries may use expensive radio transceivers, powerfulworkstations and interact with the network from a distancesince they are not restricted to using sensor network hardware.It is possible for the adversaries to perform jamming androuting traceback attacks.

    Motivated by the fact that WSNs routing is often geography-based, we propose a geography-based secure and efficient Cost-Aware SEcure routing (CASER) protocol for WSNs withoutrelying on flooding. CASER allows messages to be transmittedusing two routing strategies, random walking and deterministicrouting, in the same framework. The distribution of these twostrategies is determined by the specific security requirements.This scenario is analogous to delivering US Mail throughUSPS: express mails cost more than regular mails; however,mails can be delivered faster. The protocol also provides asecure message delivery option to maximize the message de-livery ratio under adversarial attacks. In addition, we also givequantitative secure analysis on the proposed routing protocolbased on the criteria proposed in [1].

    CASER protocol has two major advantages: (i) It ensuresbalanced energy consumption of the entire sensor network sothat the lifetime of the WSNs can be maximized. (ii) CASERprotocol supports multiple routing strategies based on therouting requirements, including fast/slow message delivery andsecure message delivery to prevent routing traceback attacksand malicious traffic jamming attacks in WSNs.

    Our contributions of this paper can be summarized as fol-lows:

    1) We propose a secure and efficient Cost-Aware SEcureRouting (CASER) protocol for WSNs. In this protocol,cost-aware based routing strategies can be applied toaddress the message delivery requirements.

    2) We devise a quantitative scheme to balance the energyconsumption so that both the sensor network lifetime andthe total number of messages that can be delivered aremaximized under the same energy deployment.

    3) We develop theoretical formulas to estimate the numberof routing hops in CASER under varying routing energybalance control and security requirements.

    4) We quantitatively analyze security of the proposed rout-

  • 1045-9219 (c) 2013 IEEE. Personal use is permitted, but republication/redistribution requires IEEE permission. See for more information.

    This article has been accepted for publication in a future issue of this journal, but has not been fully edited. Content may change prior to final publication. Citation information: DOI10.1109/TPDS.2014.2318296, IEEE Transactions on Parallel and Distributed Systems


    ing algorithm.5) We provide an optimal non-uniform energy deployment

    strategy for the given sensor networks based on theenergy consumption ratio. Our theoretical and simulationresults both show that under the same total energy de-ployment, we can increase the lifetime and the numberof messages that can be delivered more than four timesin the non-uniform energy deployment scenario.

    The rest of this paper is organized as follows. In Section II,the related work is reviewed. The system model is presentedin Section III. The proposed scheme is described in SectionIV. In Section VI, security analysis of the proposed scheme isconducted. Section VII provides performance analysis of theproposed scheme. We present the optimal, non-uniform energydeployment strategy for CASER in Section VIII. We concludein Section IX.

    II. RELATED WORKRouting is a challenging task in WSNs due to the limited

    resources. Geographic routing has been widely viewed as oneof the most promising approaches for WSNs. Geographicrouting protocols utilize the geographic location informationto route data packets hop-by-hop from the source to thedestination [2]. The source chooses the immediate neighboringnode to forward the message based on either the directionor the distance [3][6]. The distance between the neighboringnodes can be estimated or acquired by signal strengths or usingGPS equipments [7], [8]. The relative location information ofneighbor nodes can be exchanged between neighboring nodes.

    In [5], a geographic adaptive fidelity (GAF) routing schemewas proposed for sensor networks equipped with low powerGPS receivers. In GAF, the network area is divided into fixedsize virtual grids. In each grid, only one node is selectedas the active node, while the others will sleep for a periodto save energy. The sensor forwards the messages based ongreedy geographic routing strategy. A query based geographicand energy aware routing (GEAR) was proposed in [6]. InGEAR, the sink node disseminates requests with geographicattributes to the target region instead of using flooding. Eachnode forwards messages to its neighboring nodes based onestimated cost and learning cost. The estimated cost considersboth the distance to the destination and the remaining energy ofthe sensor nodes. While the learning cost provides the updatinginformation to deal with the local minimum problem.

    While geographic routing algorithms have the advantagesthat each node only needs to maintain its neighboring informa-tion, and provides a higher efficiency and a better scalabilityfor large scale WSNs, these algorithms may reach their localminimum, which can result in dead end or loops. To solve thelocal minimum problem, some variations of these basic routingalgorithms were proposed in [9], including GEDIR, MFR andcompass routing algorithm. The delivery ratio can be improvedif each node is aware of its 2-hop neighbors. There are afew papers [3], [10][12] discussed combining greedy and facerouting to solve the local minimum problem. The basic idea

    is to set the local topology of the network as a planar graph,and then the relay nodes try to forward messages along one orpossibly a sequence of adjacent faces toward the destination.

    Lifetime is another area that has been extensively studied inWSNs. In [13], a routing scheme was proposed to find the sub-optimal path that can extend the lifetime of the WSNs insteadof always selecting the lowe