Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Thesis Format

Integrated Article


Master of Engineering Science


Electrical and Computer Engineering


Ouda Abdelkader H.

2nd Supervisor

Abu-Rukba Ra'afat


American University of Sharjah



The concept of fog computing architecture represents an extension of cloud computing, and it has gained significant traction across various domains like self-driving vehicle networks, smart cities, and smart homes. One of the key challenges of traditional cloud computing lies in the considerable distance between cloud data centers and the devices at the network's edge. This geographical gap results in substantial delays when processing data. To counteract this issue, fog computing deploys intermediate servers closer to the edge devices. This approach offers enhanced service efficiency and cost-effectiveness compared to conventional cloud computing.

However, despite its conceptual roots in cloud computing, fog computing introduces its own security challenges that cannot be fully addressed using solutions designed solely for the cloud environment. The primary concern revolves around ensuring security and privacy within fog computing networks, particularly in aspects related to authentication and key agreement. These challenges emerge from the distributed and dynamic nature of fog computing, which demands tailored security solutions.

This work proposes a novel mutual authentication and key agreement protocol specifically designed to address the security requirements of fog computing within the context of the edge-fog-cloud three-tier architecture, augmented by the integration of the 5G network.

The essence of the proposed protocol lies in leveraging the unique capabilities of the 5G network. By doing so, the protocol establishes secure communication channels across the different tiers of the architecture (edge, fog, and cloud). This secure channel establishment ensures dependable data transmission and offers protection against potential security threats, given the dynamic and diverse nature of the fog-based environment. The main objective of this protocol is to tackle the security concerns inherent in fog computing. It achieves this by incorporating robust and efficient mutual authentication and key management mechanisms. These mechanisms enhance the security within fog-based environments, where conventional security approaches might fall short.

This study enhances security in the cloud-fog-edge environment. The mutual authentication mechanism introduced in this thesis lays a foundation for seamless and secure communication among various entities in the distributed architecture. Capitalizing on 5G benefits, it advances secure communication for emerging cloud-fog-edge applications. A comparative analysis was undertaken, aligning the proposed protocol with established alternatives like TLS 1.3, 5G-AKA, and diverse handover protocols. Notably, our protocol boasts a mere 1280 bits for the complete communication costs in the authentication phase, accounting for nearly 30% less than other protocols. Furthermore, our handover protocol incurs only 2 signaling costs. The handover authentication computational cost for the edge user is notably low at 0.243 ms, amounting to just 10% of the computation costs of other protocols.

Summary for Lay Audience

In the fast-paced world of modern communication, 5G technology has emerged as a powerful force, enabling faster and more reliable connections for devices. But how can we ensure that these connections are secure and trustworthy? That's where authentication protocols come into play.

Authentication protocols in 5G communication technology use advanced techniques like AES encryption and decryption to safeguard data and identity. AES encryption is like a secret code that only devices and the network can understand, making it incredibly difficult for unauthorized individuals to intercept or tamper with information.

But what happens when a user moves from one location to another while using their device? This is where handover authentication comes into play. Handover authentication ensures that as a user switches from one area to another, the connection between their device and the new fog node (a critical part of the network) remains secure and seamless.

Imagine someone is driving and streaming a movie on their phone. As they move from one city to another, the handover authentication ensures that their video keeps playing smoothly, without any interruptions due to security checks. It's like a seamless handoff of responsibilities from one security guard to another, ensuring the safety of data at all times.

This authentication process doesn't happen in isolation; it takes place in a three-tier environment, combining cloud, fog, and edge technology. The cloud is like a central hub that stores and processes vast amounts of data, while the fog represents smaller, distributed nodes closer to the user, making quick decisions and ensuring low-latency connections. The edge is the closest tier to the device, ensuring prompt responses for data requests.

By employing AES encryption and handover authentication in the cloud-fog-edge three-tier environment, 5G communication technology ensures that data remains secure, and connections stay strong, even as users move. This way, users can enjoy the benefits of fast and reliable communication without worrying about the safety of their information.

Available for download on Saturday, August 31, 2024