Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 32313
The Security Trade-Offs in Resource Constrained Nodes for IoT Application

Authors: Sultan Alharby, Nick Harris, Alex Weddell, Jeff Reeve


The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) has received much attention over the last five years. It is predicted that the IoT will influence every aspect of our lifestyles in the near future. Wireless Sensor Networks are one of the key enablers of the operation of IoTs, allowing data to be collected from the surrounding environment. However, due to limited resources, nature of deployment and unattended operation, a WSN is vulnerable to various types of attack. Security is paramount for reliable and safe communication between IoT embedded devices, but it does, however, come at a cost to resources. Nodes are usually equipped with small batteries, which makes energy conservation crucial to IoT devices. Nevertheless, security cost in terms of energy consumption has not been studied sufficiently. Previous research has used a security specification of 802.15.4 for IoT applications, but the energy cost of each security level and the impact on quality of services (QoS) parameters remain unknown. This research focuses on the cost of security at the IoT media access control (MAC) layer. It begins by studying the energy consumption of IEEE 802.15.4 security levels, which is followed by an evaluation for the impact of security on data latency and throughput, and then presents the impact of transmission power on security overhead, and finally shows the effects of security on memory footprint. The results show that security overhead in terms of energy consumption with a payload of 24 bytes fluctuates between 31.5% at minimum level over non-secure packets and 60.4% at the top security level of 802.15.4 security specification. Also, it shows that security cost has less impact at longer packet lengths, and more with smaller packet size. In addition, the results depicts a significant impact on data latency and throughput. Overall, maximum authentication length decreases throughput by almost 53%, and encryption and authentication together by almost 62%.

Keywords: Internet of Things, IEEE 802.15.4, security cost evaluation, wireless sensor network, energy consumption.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI):

Procedia APA BibTeX Chicago EndNote Harvard JSON MLA RIS XML ISO 690 PDF Downloads 1371


[1] Y. Zhong, L. Cheng, L. Zhang, Y. Song, and H. R. Karimi, “Energy-efficient routing control algorithm in large-scale wsn for water environment monitoring with application to three gorges reservoir area,” The Scientific World Journal, vol. 2014, 2014.
[2] M. Turkanovi´c, B. Brumen, and M. H¨olbl, “A novel user authentication and key agreement scheme for heterogeneous ad hoc wireless sensor networks, based on the Internet of Things notion,” Ad Hoc Networks, vol. 20, pp. 96–112, sep 2014. (Online). Available:
[3] L. D. Xu, W. He, and S. Li, “Internet of things in industries: A survey,” IEEE Transactions on Industrial Informatics, vol. 10, no. 4, pp. 2233–2243, 2014.
[4] M. Elshrkawey, S. M. Elsherif, and M. E. Wahed, “An enhancement approach for reducing the energy consumption in wireless sensor networks,” Journal of King Saud University-Computer and Information Sciences, 2017.
[5] Z. Jiang and Y. Pan, From Problem to Solution: Wireless Sensor Networks Security. Commack, NY, USA: Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2009.
[6] S. Sicari, A. Rizzardi, L. A. Grieco, and A. Coen-Porisini, “Security, privacy and trust in internet of things: The road ahead,” Computer Networks, vol. 76, pp. 146–164, 2015.
[7] M. K. Jain, “Wireless sensor networks: Security issues and challenges,” International Journal of Computer and Information Technology, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 62–67, 2011.
[8] D. K. G., M. K. Singh, and M. Jayanthi, Eds., Network Security Attacks and Countermeasures. IGI Global, 2016. (Online). Available: -4666-8761-5
[9] S. B. Othman, A. A. Bahattab, A. Trad, and H. Youssef, “Confidentiality and integrity for data aggregation in wsn using homomorphic encryption,” Wireless Personal Communications, vol. 80, no. 2, pp. 867–889, 2015.
[10] H. Modares, R. Salleh, and A. Moravejosharieh, “Overview of security issues in wireless sensor networks,” in Computational Intelligence, Modelling and Simulation (CIMSiM), 2011 Third International Conference on. IEEE, 2011, pp. 308–311.
[11] S. Sciancalepore, G. Piro, E. Vogli, G. Boggia, and L. A. Grieco, “On securing ieee 802.15. 4 networks through a standard compliant framework,” in Euro Med Telco Conference (EMTC), 2014. IEEE, 2014, pp. 1–6.
[12] S. B. Othman, A. Trad, and H. Youssef, “Performance evaluation of encryption algorithm for wireless sensor networks,” in Information Technology and e-Services (ICITeS), 2012 International Conference on. IEEE, 2012, pp. 1–8.
[13] A. Trad, A. A. Bahattab, and S. B. Othman, “Performance trade-offs of encryption algorithms for wireless sensor networks,” in Computer Applications and Information Systems (WCCAIS), 2014 World Congress on. IEEE, 2014, pp. 1–6.
[14] C. Panait and D. Dragomir, “Measuring the performance and energy consumption of aes in wireless sensor networks,” in Computer Science and Information Systems (FedCSIS), 2015 Federated Conference on. IEEE, 2015, pp. 1261–1266.
[15] J. Lee, K. Kapitanova, and S. H. Son, “The price of security in wireless sensor networks,” Computer Networks, vol. 54, no. 17, pp. 2967–2978, 2010.
[16] A. Dunkels, J. Eriksson, N. Finne, and N. Tsiftes, “Powertrace: Network-level power profiling for low-power wireless networks,” 2011.
[17] A. V. Taddeo, M. Mura, and A. Ferrante, “Qos and security in energy-harvesting wireless sensor networks,” in Security and Cryptography (SECRYPT), Proceedings of the 2010 International Conference on. IEEE, 2010, pp. 1–10.
[18] J. Misic and V. Misic, Wireless personal area networks: Performance, interconnection, and security with IEEE 802.15. 4. John Wiley & Sons, 2008, vol. 1.
[19] A. Dunkels, “The ContikiMAC Radio Duty Cycling Protocol,” SICS, Tech. Rep., 2011. (Online). Available:
[20] “Moteiv Corporation. SkyTmote Datasheet,” 2006, (Online Document) Available: konrad/projects/shimmer/references/tmotesky- datasheet.pdf.