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Whilst security is generally perceived as an important constituent of communication systems, this paper offers a viable security-communication-tradeoff particularly tailored to Advanced Metering Infrastructures (AMIs) in Smart Grid systems. These systems, often composed of embedded nodes with highly constrained resources, require e.g. metering data to be delivered efficiently whilst neither jeopardizing communication nor security. Data aggregation is a natural choice in such settings, where the challenge is to facilitate per-hop as well as end-to-end security. The prime contribution of this paper is to propose a secure aggregation protocol that meets the requirements of Smart Grids, and to analyze its efficiency considering various system configurations as well as the impact of the wireless channel through packet error rates. Relying on analysis and corroborative simulations, unprecedented design guidelines are derived which determine the operational point beyond which aggregation is useful as well quantifying the superiority of our protocol w.r.t. non-aggregated solutions.
Date of Conference: 4-6 Oct. 2010