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Lithe: Lightweight Secure CoAP for the Internet of Things

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5 Author(s)

The Internet of Things (IoT) enables a wide range of application scenarios with potentially critical actuating and sensing tasks, e.g., in the e-health domain. For communication at the application layer, resource-constrained devices are expected to employ the constrained application protocol (CoAP) that is currently being standardized at the Internet Engineering Task Force. To protect the transmission of sensitive information, secure CoAP mandates the use of datagram transport layer security (DTLS) as the underlying security protocol for authenticated and confidential communication. DTLS, however, was originally designed for comparably powerful devices that are interconnected via reliable, high-bandwidth links. In this paper, we present Lithe-an integration of DTLS and CoAP for the IoT. With Lithe, we additionally propose a novel DTLS header compression scheme that aims to significantly reduce the energy consumption by leveraging the 6LoWPAN standard. Most importantly, our proposed DTLS header compression scheme does not compromise the end-to-end security properties provided by DTLS. Simultaneously, it considerably reduces the number of transmitted bytes while maintaining DTLS standard compliance. We evaluate our approach based on a DTLS implementation for the Contiki operating system. Our evaluation results show significant gains in terms of packet size, energy consumption, processing time, and network-wide response times when compressed DTLS is enabled.

Published in:

IEEE Sensors Journal  (Volume:13 ,  Issue: 10 )