A Secure Home Healthcare System Based on 6LoWPAN WSN

A Secure Home Healthcare System Based on 6LoWPAN WSN

Xiaonan Wang (School of Computer Science and Engineering, Changshu Institute of Technology, Changshu, Jiangsu, China) and Yi Mu (School of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/ijitn.2014070102

Abstract

This paper proposes a secure home healthcare system based on 6LoWPAN WSN. In this system, the hierarchical architecture based on clusters is proposed, and the hierarchical address structure based on location information is presented. Based on the architecture and the address structure, the secure address configuration algorithm is proposed. According to the destination IPv6 address, this system can automatically perform the routing in the link layer without route discovery. This system achieves the secure communication. Through this system, at any time a physician can monitor the physical parameters of a home-based patient such as a senior or less-mobile person, and a home-based patient can also alert a physician to call for help. In the latter case, the physician can quickly obtain the location of the patient in order to perform effective and timely treatment. The performance parameters of this system are evaluated and compared, and the data results show that this system effectively improves the system performance.
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Introduction

In the next 20 years, aged population in the world is rapidly increasing. This trend suggests that by 2050 about 20% of the world population will be at least 60 years old (Kinsella K, 2009). The technology is one way to avoid institutionalizing aged people and reduce high medical costs. In particular, technology can help senior people promote wellness at home in safety and independence (Chan M, 2008).

At present, traditional WSNs (Wireless sensor networks) are used in human biofeedback (Fowler K, 2009), so they can also be applied in the homecare system (Masuda Y, 2005). Obviously, contrary to building more hospitals, the WSN technologies may provide the homecare with much lower cost (Varshney U, 2007). The traditional WSN is data-centric, and in the existing systems (Caldeira J, 2012; Chen SK, 2012) it is only a sensor node that takes the initiative to send data to a sink which then forwards the data to the emergency. Therefore, it is hard for a physician to take the initiative at any time to obtain the vital signs of an aged person at home for real-time monitoring. Moreover, the monitoring system must consider security and privacy, if data are transmitted via the network.

This paper proposes a secure home healthcare system based on 6LoWPAN WSN, and it has the following contributions:

  • The hierarchical architecture based on clusters is proposed. Based on this architecture, the hierarchical address structure based on location information is created in order to help address compression and shorten the address length. As a result, the communication delay is reduced;

  • Based on the architecture and the hierarchical address structure, the secure address configuration algorithm is proposed. According to the destination IPv6 address, this system can automatically perform routing without route discovery. Moreover, the routing is achieved in the link layer, and the intermediate nodes only utilizes the header in the link layer to perform the routing without dealing with the headers in upper layers. Therefore, the control message does not need to include the IPv6 header, so the control cost is reduced and the communication delay is shortened;

  • This system achieves the secure communication between a physician and an elder person at home. At any time, a physician can monitor the vital signs of an elder person at home, and an elder person at home can also alert a physician to call for help. According to the IPv6 address of the sensor node which an elder person is equipped with, a physician can quickly obtain the location of the elder person in order to carry out effective and timely treatment.

This system is discussed in detail in the following sections. The related works on healthcare systems are discussed in Section 2, the architecture of this system is presented in Section 3, the secure IPv6 address configuration algorithm is described in Section 4, and the secure communication is presented in Section 5. This system is evaluated in Section 6 and this paper concludes with a summary in Section 7.

Review Of Literature

Alemdar H. (2010) present issues that need to be addressed to enhance the life quality for the elderly and chronically ill population. They point out that the future healthcare applications still face some challenges, and there are some key technologies to be addressed.

At present, the existing healthcare systems are mainly based on traditional WSN.

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