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Trustworthy Operations in Cellular Networks: The Case of PF Scheduler

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3 Author(s)
Pelechrinis, K. ; Sch. of Inf. Sci., Univ. of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA, USA ; Krishanmurthy, P. ; Gkantsidis, C.

Cellular data networks are proliferating to address the need for ubiquitous connectivity. To cope with the increasing number of subscribers and with the spatiotemporal variations of the wireless signals, current cellular networks use opportunistic schedulers, such as the Proportional Fairness scheduler (PF), to maximize network throughput while maintaining fairness among users. Such scheduling decisions are based on channel quality metrics and Automatic Repeat reQuest (ARQ) feedback reports provided by the User's Equipment (UE). Implicit in current networks is the a priori trust on every UE's feedback. Malicious UEs can, thus, exploit this trust to disrupt service by intelligently faking their reports. This work proposes a trustworthy version of the PF scheduler (called TPF) to mitigate the effects of such Denial-of-Service (DoS) attacks. In brief, based on the channel quality reported by the UE, we assign a probability to possible ARQ feedbacks. We then use the probability associated with the actual ARQ report to assess the UE's reporting trustworthiness. We adapt the scheduling mechanism to give higher priority to more trusted users. Our evaluations show that TPF 1) does not induce any performance degradation under benign settings, and 2) it completely mitigates the effects of the activity of malicious UEs. In particular, while colluding attackers can obtain up to 77 percent of the time slots with the most sophisticated attack, TPF is able to contain this percentage to as low as 6 percent.

Published in:

Parallel and Distributed Systems, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:25 ,  Issue: 2 )