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Mentored Engineering Research

Wireless Network Security

Dr. Willie Harrison

The security of wireless communication links promises to be an important area of research into the next few decades due to the ease with which wireless signals can be observed by eavesdroppers. Physical-layer security is how we refer to efforts to secure these wireless networks that involve exploiting phenomena at the physical layer of a communications system, such as the noise in a channel, to bring about secure communications. This type of security tends to require no secret keys, and hence, may have applications in networks where sharing a key is difficult (think the Internet of Things).

This project seeks to answer the question: Is it really possible to use noise and secret codes to secure a wireless network? Students will make use of software radios, channel coding algorithms, and signaling techniques to verify the limits of physical-layer security in indoor and outdoor networks. Most results in this area are of a theoretical nature only, making this hands-on research very meaningful in shaping the future of physical-layer security research.