Section: New Results

Scalable solutions for capillary networks

Participants: Isabelle Augé-Blum, Jin Cui, Marco Fiore, Ochirkhand Erdene-Ochir, Alexandre Mouradian, Hervé Rivano, Razvan Stanica, Fabrice Valois

Real-time wireless sensor networks.

Critical applications for WSNs are emerging, with real-time and reliability requirements. Critical applications are applications on which depend human lives and the environment: a failure of a critical application can thus have dramatic consequences. We are especially interested in anomaly detection applications (forest fire detection, landslide detection, intrusion detection, etc), which require bounded end to end delays and high delivery ratio. Few WSNs protocols of the literature allow to bound end to end delays. Among the proposed solutions, some allow to effectively bound the end to end delays, but do not take into account the characteristics of WSNs (limited energy, large scale, etc). Others take into account those aspects, but do not give strict guaranties on the end to end delays. In this sense, the PhD thesis of Alexandre Mouradian [2] proposes a real-time anomaly detection solution composed of:

  • A virtual coordinate system which allows to discriminate nodes in a 2-hop neighborhood and to bound the number of hops between any source and the sink.

  • A cross-layer protocol for WSNs (named RTXP) based on the proposed virtual coordinate system. Thanks to these coordinates it is possible to introduce determinism in the accesses to the medium and to bound the hop-count, this allows to bound the end to end delay. RTXP adapts its duty-cycle to the traffic loads and uses an opportunistic routing scheme to increase its delivery ratio. We show, by simulation, that RTXP outperforms real-time protocols of the literature for anomaly detection in WSNs under harsh radio conditions.

  • A real-time aggregation scheme to mitigate the alarm storm problem which causes collisions and congestion and thus limit the network lifetime. This scheme is also based on the virtual coordinate system and is used before RTXP in order to reduce the number of similar alarms converging toward the sink.

Formal verification of wireless sensor networks protocols.

WSN protocols used by critical applications must be formally verified in order to provide the strongest possible guaranties: simulations and tests are not sufficient in this context, formal proofs of compliance with the specifications of the application have to be provided.. Unfortunately the radio link is unreliable and it is thus difficult to give hard guarantees on the temporal behavior of the protocols. Indeed, a message may experience a very high number of retransmissions and the temporal guarantee can only be given with a certain probability. This probability must meet the requirements of the application. Network protocols have been successfully verified on a given network topology without taking into account unreliable links. Nevertheless, the probabilistic nature of radio links may change the topology (links which appear and disappear). Thus instead of a single topology we have a set of possible topologies, each topology having a probability to exist. In [12] , we propose a method that produces the set of topologies, checks the property on every topology, and gives the probability that the property is verified. This technique is independent from the verification technique, i.e. each topology can be verified using any formal method which can give a “yes” or “no” answer to the question: “Does the model of the protocol respect the property?”. We apply this method on the f-MAC protocol. We use UPPAAL model checker as verification tool. We implement a tool that automatizes the process and thus show the feasibility of our proposition. We compare the results of the verification with simulation results. It appears that the verification is, as expected, conservative but not overly pessimistic compared to the simulated worst case. Besides we show that f-MAC is a reliable real-time protocol for WSNs (for up to 6 nodes), as we were not able to detect faults.

Moreover, in [2] , a verification technique which mixes Network Calculus and Model Checking is proposed, in order to be both scalable and exhaustive. This technique consists in modeling the interaction of each node with the rest of the network with arrival curves and then to verify with UPPAAL that each node is capable of handling these interactions while meeting the deadlines. We apply this methodology in order to formally verify our pervious proposition, RTXP.

Reliability in wireless sensor networks.

WSN critical applications require the respect of time and reliability constraints. In [13] , we provide a theoretical study of the reliability in WSNs. We define the reliability as the probability of success of an end-to-end transmission in the WSN. In this work, we use two radio propagation models : a basic model where the nodes have a set of neighbors they can communicate with, with a given probability, and the log-normal shadowing model, where probability of reception depends on the emitter-receiver distance. We determine the reliability of two routing schemes : unicast-based routing (classical routing) and broadcast-based routing (opportunistic routing). We conclude that the broadcast-based routing allows to reach a higher reliability than the unicast case. The main result is that we show the existence of a reliability bottleneck at the sink node in the case of the broadcast-based routing. We show that the addition of another sink improves the reliability of the network in this case.

Resiliency in wireless sensor networks.

Because of their open and unattended deployment, in possibly hostile environments, powerful adversaries can easily launch Denial-of-Service (Dos) attacks on wireless sensor networks, cause physical damage to sensors, or even capture them to extract sensitive information (encryption keys, identities, addresses, etc.). Consequently, the compromised node poses severe security and reliability concerns, since it allows an adversary to be considered as a legitimate node inside the network. To cope with these "insider" attacks, stemming from node compromise, "beyond cryptography" algorithmic solutions must be envisaged to complement the traditional cryptographic solutions. In this sense, in [1] , we first propose the resiliency concept. Our goal is to propose a definition of the resiliency in our context (security of WSNs routing protocols) and a new metric to compare routing protocols. The originality of this metric is that we combine the graphical representation (qualitative information) with the aggregation method (quantitative information). We introduce a two dimensional graphical representation with multiple axes forming an equiangular polygon surface. This method allows to aggregate meaningfully several parameters and makes it easier to visually discern various trade-offs, thus greatly simplifying the process of protocol comparison.Secondly, we propose the protocol behaviors enhancing resiliency. Our proposition consists in three elements: (i) introduce random behaviors (ii) limit route length (iii) introduce data replication. Random behaviors increase uncertainty for an adversary, making the protocols unpredictable. Data replication allows route diversification between the sources and the sink, thus improving the delivery success and fairness. Limitation of the route length is necessary to reduce the probability of a data packet to meet a malicious insider along the route. The quantitative metric enables to propose a new resiliency taxonomy of WSNs routing protocols. According to this taxonomy, the gradient based routing is the most resilient when it is combined with the proposed behaviors. Thirdly, several variants of the gradient-based routing (classical and randomized) under more complex and realistic adversary model (several combined attacks) are considered to extend our simulations. Several values of bias are introduced to the randomized variants and two data replication methods (uniform and adaptive) are considered. Without attacks, the most biased variants without replications are the most efficient. However, under moderate attacks, the replication uniform is the most adapted, while under intense attacks, the replication adaptive is the most suitable. Finally, a theoretical study of the resiliency is introduced. We present an analytical study of the biased random walk routing under attacks. The influence of bias is evaluated and two replication methods that previously evaluated by simulations are considered. After presenting the delivery success and the energy consumption of all scenarios, we evaluate them with our resiliency metric. This study permits to confirm the results obtained with simulations and it shows that the bias is essential to enhance the resiliency of random routing.

Data aggregation in wireless sensor networks.

Data aggregation is a crucial problem in wireless sensor networks due to their constrained-energy and constrained-bandwidth nature. In [26] , we highlight the aggregation benefits at the Network layer and MAC layer by modeling the energy consumption for some energy-efficient routing protocols and MAC protocols. Besides, we define two parameters, the aggregation ratio and the packet size coefficient to evaluate the efficiency of an aggregation method, and to discuss the trade-off. Additionally, we investigate the differences between time series and compressive sensing, which are representative state-of-the-art solutions for forecasting aggregation and compressing aggregation respectively.

Routing in delay-tolerant networks.

Delay-Tolerant Networks (DTN) model systems that are characterized by intermittent connectivity and frequent partitioning. Routing in DTNs has drawn much research effort recently. Since very different kinds of networks fall in the DTN category, many routing approaches have been proposed. In particular, the routing layer in some DTNs has information about the schedules of contacts between nodes and about data traffic demand. Such systems can benefit from a previously proposed routing algorithm based on linear programming that minimizes the average message delay. This algorithm, however, is known to have performance issues that limit its applicability to very simple scenarios. In [9] , we propose an alternative linear programming approach for routing in Delay-Tolerant Networks. We show that our formulation is equivalent to that presented in a seminal work in this area, but it contains fewer LP constraints and has a structure suitable to the application of Column Generation (CG). Simulation shows that our CG implementation arrives at an optimal solution up to three orders of magnitude faster than the original linear program in the considered DTN examples.

Performance evaluation of vehicular communications.

Wireless vehicular networks face different problems and challenges, especially in a dense urban environment. In [23] , we first characterize the different types of loss in vehicular networks: radio propagation problems, expired security messages, collision with one hop neighbor and collisions with hidden terminals. In a second step, we give the architecture of the wireless vehicular network and describe the Medium Access Control (MAC) quality of service mechanisms proposed by vehicular environment standards that aim at meeting the road drivers’ expectation and increasing road safety. To complete this image, in [24] , we provide a literature survey that covers the solutions proposed in order to enable critical dissemination of urgent messages and surpass the challenging vehicular dynamic topology. More particularly, we detail the following techniques: beaconing frequency reduction, transmit rate control, power control, adaptation of the contention window and adaptation of the carrier sense threshold.

Secure node localization in mobile ad-hoc networks.

A growing number of ad hoc networking protocols and location-aware services require that mobile nodes learn the position of their neighbors. However, such a process can be easily abused or disrupted by adversarial nodes. In absence of a priori trusted nodes, the discovery and verification of neighbor positions presents challenges that have been scarcely investigated in the literature. In [6] , we address this open issue by proposing a fully distributed cooperative solution that is robust against independent and colluding adversaries, and can be impaired only by an overwhelming presence of adversaries. Results show that our protocol can thwart more than 99% of the attacks under the best possible conditions for the adversaries, with minimal false positive rates.

In a vehicular context, knowledge of the location of vehicles and tracking of the routes they follow are a requirement for a number of applications. However, public disclosure of the identity and position of drivers jeopardizes user privacy, and securing the tracking through asymmetric cryptography may have an exceedingly high computational cost. In [11] , we address all of the issues above by introducing A-VIP, a lightweight privacy-preserving framework for tracking of vehicles. A-VIP leverages anonymous position beacons from vehicles, and the cooperation of nearby cars collecting and reporting the beacons they hear. Such information allows an authority to verify the locations announced by vehicles, or to infer the actual ones if needed. We assess the effectiveness of A-VIP through testbed implementation results.