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IEEE 802.15.4 addresses low-rate wireless personal area networks, enables low power devices, and includes a number of security provisions and options (the security sub-layer). Security competes with performance for the scarce resources of low power, low cost sensor devices. So, a proper design of efficient and secure applications requires to know the impact that IEEE 802.15.4 security services have on the protocol performance. In this paper, the authors present the preliminary results of a research activity aimed at quantitatively evaluating such impact from different standpoints including memory consumption, network performance, and energy consumption. The evaluation exploits a free implementation of the IEEE 802.15.4 security sub-layer.
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