Faculty Advisor

Fernando C. Colon Osorio

Faculty Advisor

Emmanuel Agu




As the popularity of wireless networks increases, so does the need to protect them. In recent years, many researchers have studied the limitations of the security mechanisms that protect wireless networks. There has also been much research in the power consumption introduced by the network card. Technologies such as CPU and memory are increasing and so is their need for power, but battery technology is increasing at a much slower rate, forming a“battery gap". Because of this, battery capacity plays a major role in the usability of the devices. Although the effect of the network communication on a mobile device's battery has been widely researched, there has been less research on the effect of the security profile on energy usage. In this thesis, we examine a method for analyzing trade-offs between energy and security proposed by Colon Osorio et al. This research describes a method to identify the most appropriate security profile for a given application, given battery constraints. The same method can also be used to discover the minimum battery capacity to maintain a minimum security profile for a predefined amount of time. Trade-offs and optimality are analyzed using a cost-energy function, CE, and security measure, SM. CE encompasses the energy required to use countermeasure M against a specific vulnerability, Vi, as well as the energy consumed in bulk transfer. SM is a numerical representation of the effectiveness of a set of security mechanisms which utilize the set of countermeasures to defend against a set of vulnerabilities. Using CE and SM, we can compare different security profiles using a trade-off model. Having defined such a framework, we investigate different instances and examples where the use of the model is helpful in accessing trade-offs between security obtained and energy consumed to achieve such security. This was first examined through an analytical study, followed by experimentation. The major contributions of this work are an energy-security trade-off model and its empirical validation. This work extends the empirical experimentation done by other researchers such as Potlapally et al., Karri et al., and Stemm and Katz on the relationship between energy and the security of wireless communications in battery-constrained devices.


Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Degree Name



Computer Science

Project Type


Date Accepted





energy, security, 802.11 security protocols, wireless networks, Wireless communication systems, Security measures, Power resources