Design of an OFDM Physical Layer Encryption Scheme

This paper presents a new encryption scheme implemented at the physical layer of wireless networks employing orthogonal frequency-division multiplexing (OFDM). The new scheme obfuscates the subcarriers by randomly reserving several subcarriers for dummy data and resequences the training symbol by a new secure sequence. Subcarrier obfuscation renders the OFDM transmission more secure and random, whereas training symbol resequencing protects the entire physical layer packet but does not affect the normal functions of synchronization and channel estimation of legitimate users while preventing eavesdroppers from performing these functions. The security analysis shows that the system is robust to various attacks by analyzing the search space using an exhaustive key search. The authors' scheme is shown to perform better in terms of search space, key rate, and complexity in comparison with other OFDM physical layer encryption schemes. The scheme offers options for users to customize the security level and the key rate according to the hardware resource. Its low complexity nature also makes the scheme suitable for resource-limited devices. Details of practical design considerations are highlighted by applying the approach to an IEEE 802.11 OFDM system case study.


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  • Accession Number: 01633452
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Apr 28 2017 10:44AM