Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Engineering Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Dr. Xianbin Wang


Without any doubt, wireless infrastructures and services have fundamental impacts on every aspect of our lives. Despite of their popularities, wireless communications are vulnerable to various attacks due to the open nature of radio propagation. In fact, communication security in wireless networks is becoming more critical than ever. As a solution, conventional cryptographic techniques are deployed on upper layers of network protocols. Along with direct attacks from lower layer, wireless security challenges come with the rapid evolution of sophisticated decipher techniques. Conventional security mechanisms are not necessarily effective against potential attacks from the open wireless environment anymore. As an alternative, physical-layer(PHY) security, utilizing unique features from lower layer, becomes a new research focus for many wireless communication systems.

In this thesis, three mechanisms for PHY security enhancement are investigated. Beginning with a discussion on the security vulnerability in highly standardized infrastructures, the thesis proposed a time domain scrambling scheme of orthogonal frequency division multiplexing (OFDM) system to improve the PHY security. The method relies on secretly scrambling each OFDM symbol in time domain, resulting in constellation transformation in frequency domain, to hide transmission features. As a complement to existing secrecy capacity maximization based optimal cooperative jamming systems, a security strategy based on the compromised secrecy region (CSR) minimization in cooperative jamming is then proposed when instantaneous channel state information(CSI) is not available. The optimal parameters of the jammer are derived to minimize the CSR which exhibits high secrecy outage probability. At last, security enhancement of OFDM system in cooperative networks is also investigated. The function selection strategies of cooperative nodes are studied. Our approach is capable of enhancing the security of broadband communications by selecting the proper function of each cooperative node. Numerical results demonstrate the feasibility of three proposed physical layer security mechanisms by examining the communication reliability, achievable CSR and secrecy capacity respectively.