UTS and The University of Arizona jointly addressing network security in next-generation IoT systems
Leading researchers in wireless systems from the USA and Australia are joining forces to improve the security and efficiency of next-generation Internet of Things (IoT) systems.
Professor Marwan Krunz of The University of Arizona (UA) and UTS’s Dr. Diep Nguyen are designing efficient Wi-Fi systems to secure the privacy of device-to-device communication in smart homes, businesses and cities.
“We are among the first research groups in the world to develop security solutions for IoT devices using recent advances in self-interference suppression. Our design shields IoT devices with friendly interference,” said Dr. Nguyen.
IoT systems consist of smart devices that can transfer data over a network without human-to-human or human-to-computer involvement. Among their many applications, IoT devices are used in smart homes/buildings, in the forms of actuators, climate control sensors, smart lighting, etc. They are also used in manufacturing, environment monitoring, smart agriculture, transportation, remote health monitoring, and other domains.
“In buildings embedded with smart devices you need to ensure security because you are broadcasting information over the open air. The devices are communicating with each other constantly and often left unattended,” said Professor Krunz. “Eavesdropping on such information and breaching user privacy is relatively easy. But with our design, eavesdroppers will not be able to listen to your communications.”
UTS and UA are working on a technology called receiver-based friendly jamming for MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) systems, commonly used in wireless devices like iPhones and smart tablets. Conventional MIMO communications rely on multiple antennae to transmit and receive a high volume of data signals at the same time. Dr. Nguyen and Professor Krunz will equip this conventional system with the eavesdropping-proof capability.
“What we’re working on is basically how to coordinate the operation of these various antennas, so that when we transmit a wireless signal it will only arrive exactly at the point of its destination. The information will not be coherently decoded by unintended directions,” said Professor Krunz.
For consumers this means increased communications throughout and improved cybersecurity.
With the development of 5G – the next generation of wireless communications – there is a need to support a high density of devices that communicate primarily in a wireless fashion.
“Typically our research is geared towards things that will materialise in products, let’s say within five years.”
“Because of this push for 5G, lots of industry forums and organisations are supporting our efforts. Soon we will start seeing products that will have to satisfy the requirements that we’re trying to achieve in our projects.”
To further strengthen the research ties between UA and UTS, Professor Krunz and Dr. Nguyen are working to establish a joint PhD program between their respective universities.
Under the joint program, PhD candidates would have a home university but be co-supervised by a faculty member from each university. They would also have the opportunity to spend at least a year at the other institution.
“I think it’s a wonderful opportunity,” said Dr. Nguyen who studied and worked in California, Arizona, and Boston, before moving to Sydney.
“We open a gateway for our students to the US job market; they have the opportunity to work at The University of Arizona and later on they can meet with potential employers.”
“It also opens a door for us to contact potential industry sponsors in the US and get them to Australia, to UTS.”
Following Professor Krunz’s visit to UTS, they presented initial results from their collaboration in Paris at the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers’ International Conference on Communications (IEEE ICC 2017), one of the premier conferences in the area of wireless communications.