The concept of the Internet of Things (IoT) has
received much attention over the last five years. It is predicted
that the IoT will influence every aspect of our lifestyles in the
near future. Wireless Sensor Networks are one of the key enablers
of the operation of IoTs, allowing data to be collected from the
surrounding environment. However, due to limited resources, nature
of deployment and unattended operation, a WSN is vulnerable to
various types of attack. Security is paramount for reliable and safe
communication between IoT embedded devices, but it does, however,
come at a cost to resources. Nodes are usually equipped with small
batteries, which makes energy conservation crucial to IoT devices.
Nevertheless, security cost in terms of energy consumption has
not been studied sufficiently. Previous research has used a security
specification of 802.15.4 for IoT applications, but the energy cost
of each security level and the impact on quality of services (QoS)
parameters remain unknown. This research focuses on the cost of
security at the IoT media access control (MAC) layer. It begins
by studying the energy consumption of IEEE 802.15.4 security
levels, which is followed by an evaluation for the impact of security
on data latency and throughput, and then presents the impact of
transmission power on security overhead, and finally shows the effects
of security on memory footprint. The results show that security
overhead in terms of energy consumption with a payload of 24 bytes
fluctuates between 31.5% at minimum level over non-secure packets
and 60.4% at the top security level of 802.15.4 security specification.
Also, it shows that security cost has less impact at longer packet
lengths, and more with smaller packet size. In addition, the results
depicts a significant impact on data latency and throughput. Overall,
maximum authentication length decreases throughput by almost 53%,
and encryption and authentication together by almost 62%.
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