Cooperative key generation in wireless networks

Lifeng Lai, Yingbin Liang, Wenliang Du

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The impact of relay nodes on the secret key generation via the physical layer resources is investigated. A novel relay-assisted strategy is proposed to improve the generated secret key rate. The main idea is to exploit the random channels associated with relay nodes in the network as additional random sources for the key generation. This approach is particularly useful when the channels between legitimate nodes change slowly. Four increasingly sophisticated yet more practical scenarios are studied, for which relay-assisted key generation protocols are proposed and are shown to be optimal or order-optimal in terms of the key rate. It is also shown that the multiplexing gain in the key rate scales linearly with the number of relays, which demonstrates that relay-assisted schemes substantially increase the key rate. This is in sharp contrast to scenarios with relays helping information transmission, in which the multiplexing gain does not scale with the number of relays. Furthermore, a cooperative scheme is also proposed in which relays help key generation but the generated keys are kept secure from these relays.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6280261
Pages (from-to)1578-1588
Number of pages11
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Areas in Communications
Issue number8
StatePublished - 2012


  • Information theoretic security
  • key generation
  • key rate
  • multiplexing gain
  • relay-oblivious

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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