An Authentication and Key Management Mechanism for Resource Constrained Devices in IEEE 802.11-based IoT Access Networks

Ki Wook Kim, Youn Hee Han, Sung Gi Min

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Many Internet of Things (IoT) services utilize an IoT access network to connect small devices with remote servers. They can share an access network with standard communication technology, such as IEEE 802.11ah. However, an authentication and key management (AKM) mechanism for resource constrained IoT devices using IEEE 802.11ah has not been proposed as yet. We therefore propose a new AKM mechanism for an IoT access network, which is based on IEEE 802.11 key management with the IEEE 802.1X authentication mechanism. The proposed AKM mechanism does not require any pre-configured security information between the access network domain and the IoT service domain. It considers the resource constraints of IoT devices, allowing IoT devices to delegate the burden of AKM processes to a powerful agent. The agent has sufficient power to support various authentication methods for the access point, and it performs cryptographic functions for the IoT devices. Performance analysis shows that the proposed mechanism greatly reduces computation costs, network costs, and memory usage of the resource-constrained IoT device as compared to the existing IEEE 802.11 Key Management with the IEEE 802.1X authentication mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Article number2170
JournalSensors (Switzerland)
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgments: This research was supported by Basic Science Research Program through the National Research Foundation of Korea(NRF) funded by the Ministry of Education(2017R1D1A1B03032303) Author Contributions: Sung-Gi Min has defined the IoT authentication architecture and designed the proposed protocol. Youn-Hee Han has provided the guidelines and strategy to the performance evaluations. Finally, Ki-wook Kim performed the performance evaluations and wrote the paper.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Access network security
  • Authentication and key management (AKM)
  • IEEE 802.11ah
  • Internet of Things (IoT)
  • Resource constrained device

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Information Systems
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Biochemistry
  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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