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PhD in the area of User mobility and service continuity

The PhD student is expected to work on service continuity, covering both Mobile IP and SIP-based architectures. The following outcome is expected:

  • Enhancement mechanisms for user authentication in wireless networks;
  • Mechanisms for seamless user access through SIM authentication in 802.11 WLANs;
  • Interworking of SIM based authentication between personal devices, based on local communication, i.e. Near Field Communication and/or Bluetooth;
  • Mechanisms to keep session continuity with QoS insurance while users are moving across multiple APs in WLANs;
  • Mechanisms for secure service roaming between 2G/3G/4G mobile networks and WLANs.

Envisaged tasks:

  • Theoretical: Key handling: distribution, security
  • Implementation: use NFC (
  • Standardisation: ECMA, NFC key exchange
  • Demo: show how it may work

Background and State-of-the-art

Service continuity of mobile users is based on seamless access. The user desires to be reachable on all networks with minimum service interruption. He/She expects that his/her applications will not be compromised during his movement among various networks. When users are roaming among different APs in WLANs, user authentication and continuous service provision is a challenging task. The challenge becomes more serious when users are roaming across heterogeneous wireless networks, for example between UMTS and WLANs. While authentication procedures may still be conducted at each individual network, the future design of continuous access has to be based on universal access rights. Design, implementation, and improve performance of a secure and universal mobility architecture need to establish user trust in such roaming handovers. Little attention is paid on how access rights in one network can be translated into access rights in other networks without compromising the user identity. There are standard protocols, such as Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) and Mobile IP, to support mobility and uses standard virtual private network (VPN) technologies (e.g., IPsec) to support security (authentication and encryption). They use pre-processing and make-before-break handoff techniques to achieve seamless mobility (i.e., with little interruption to users and user applications) across heterogeneous radio systems. Security, privacy, mobility, reachability, and dynamic secure tunnelling management should be considered in such architecture. The IST OBAN project [23] has established the seamless integration of the mobile phone and PC for WLAN authentication. This approach, where the SIM card carries authentication and privacy information, will be extended towards a more general network and service authentication. We will also explore the possible use of identity based encryption and signature scheme for user authentication, and how these identity handlers can be distributed amongst the personal devices of the user.

The second main research topic handles the service continuity for roaming users. In a scenario where Hierarchical Mobile IP is adopted as the micro-mobility solution, likely approaches for service continuity include pre-registration and post-registration proposed by the IETF. We see the IETF approach as being one solution, but expect to address more solutions concerning roaming across heterogeneous wireless networks.

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Page last modified on January 05, 2006, at 10:16 AM EST