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Cryptography is commonly used to provide link-layer message authentication in wireless sensor networks. However, keys are susceptible to compromise and introduce management requirements. Avoiding keys can therefore deliver security and management benefits. The paper introduces and discusses the feasibility of RTTMAP, a protocol that uses radio frequency ranging for message authentication. RTTMAP uses secure round-trip-time with hash functions to determine the minimum distance of a transmitter. Transmissions from outside of a defined radius are rejected without requiring keys. The authors provide the motivation, an evaluation of the findings and continuing research challenges. They find RTTMAP offers higher security, costs about twice the energy of keyed message authentication but complicates MAC protocol selection.
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