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Because of limited resources at sensor nodes, sensor networks typically adopt symmetric-key algorithms to provide security functions such as protecting communications between nodes. In order to use symmetric-key algorithms, two nodes need to establish a secret session key first. In this paper, the authors propose a novel Chord-Based Key Establishment (CBKE) protocol that allows any pair of nodes in a sensor network to establish a secret session key. CBKE is a generalized deterministic key establishment scheme that provides great flexibility for balancing memory overhead, reliability, and communication cost. They analyze the properties of CBKE and explore the performance trade-offs using simulation.
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