Keys through ARQ: Theory and practice

Yara Abdallah, Mohamed Abdel Latif, Moustafa Youssef, Ahmed Sultan, Hesham El Gamal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


This paper develops a novel framework for sharing secret keys using the Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ) protocol. We first characterize the underlying information theoretic limits, under different assumptions on the channel spatial and temporal correlation function. Our analysis reveals a novel role of dumb antennas in overcoming the negative impact of spatial correlation on the achievable secrecy rates. We further develop an adaptive rate allocation policy, which achieves higher secrecy rates in temporally correlated channels, and explicit constructions for ARQ secrecy coding that enjoy low implementation complexity. Building on this theoretical foundation, we propose a unified framework for ARQ-based secrecy in Wi-Fi networks. By exploiting the existing ARQ mechanism in the IEEE 802.11 standard, we develop security overlays that offer strong security guarantees at the expense of only minor modifications in the medium access layer. Our numerical results establish the achievability of nonzero secrecy rates even when the eavesdropper channel is less noisy, on the average, than the legitimate channel, while our Linux-based prototype demonstrates the efficiency of our ARQ overlays in mitigating all known, passive and active, Wi-Fi attacks at the expense of a minimal increase in the link setup time and a small loss in throughput. © 2011 IEEE.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)737-751
Number of pages15
JournalIEEE Transactions on Information Forensics and Security
Issue number3 PART 1
StatePublished - Sep 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-22

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality


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