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Reducing Communication Overhead for Wireless Roaming Authentication: Methods and Performance Evaluation

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Author(s): Men Long | Chwan-Hwa "John" Wu | J. David Irwin

Journal: International Journal of Network Security
ISSN 1816-353X

Volume: 6;
Issue: 3;
Start page: 331;
Date: 2008;
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Keywords: Authentication and key agreement (AKA) | roaming authentication | security | wireless LAN | wireless roaming

ABSTRACT
The protocol design for wireless roaming authentication is challenging because of the key management regarding users and home/visited networks. In this paper, we present two authentication methods that demonstrate better performance in terms of authentication latency and energy consumption of a mobile terminal, compared to the 3G cellular network approach of home network transporting authentication vector to visited network. The proposed Method I, referred to as Nonce-based Authentication, eliminates the sequence numbers used in the 3G roaming authentication and employs the key derivation and caching technique for mobile terminal and visited network. The proposed Method II, called Lightweight Localized Authentication, introduces the computation-efficient protocol based on a carefully designed public key certificate infrastructure. With the design goal of achieving security by lower cost, both methods significantly reduce the communication overhead between home and visited networks for roaming authentication, as indicated by analytical and experimental result.