Wireless Sensor Networks: Emerging Applications and Security Solutions

Wireless Sensor Networks: Emerging Applications and Security Solutions

Sumita Mishra (Rochester Institute of Technology, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-60960-777-7.ch011
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Wireless sensor networking technology has been used extensively by both commercial and military applications for sensing and data collection purposes. The self-configuring, self-healing nature and the ease of deployment of these networks make them an attractive option to other centralized approaches. Most of the existing networking solutions for sensor networks focus on the communication aspects and do not address the data security concerns of these networks. Since sensor networks are being deployed for emerging applications involving sensitive data and are envisioned to be integrated with the cyber space, it is essential to address the security needs of wireless sensor networks. Designing security solutions for Wireless Sensor Networks is an extremely challenging task due to the resource constraints of sensor nodes and the distributed nature of network design. This chapter provides an overview of emerging sensor networks involving sensitive data and a discussion of some of the proposed security solutions.
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There have been significant advances in the sensor hardware and software technology, making wireless sensor networking an attractive option for many emerging wireless applications. WSNs are formed by sensor nodes that are low-cost wireless devices having on-board sensing, processing and communication capabilities (Akyildiz, 2002; Pottie, 2000; Yick, 2008; Shi, 2004 and Hu, 2005). For some applications, a large number of sensor nodes are deployed in a designated area in a random fashion. Sensor nodes form a network automatically, i.e., they configure to form a self-organized distributed wireless network for sensing and data collection purposes. Some of the characteristics of WSNs are similar to those of mobile wireless ad hoc networks (MANET). For example, nodes in both mobile ad hoc networks and wireless sensor networks act as hosts as well as routers. Both of these networks are self-healing, i.e., the network automatically reconfigures in case of link failures due to mobility in MANETs or depletion of node energy in WSNs. However, there are some major differences between the two network types (Lopez, 2008).

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