Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Kenneth M. Hopkinson, PhD


To address the group key management problem for modern networks this research proposes a lightweight group key management protocol with a gossip-based dissemination routine. Experiments show that by slightly increasing workload for the key update mechanism, this protocol is superior to currently available tree-based protocols with respect to reliability and fault tolerance, while remaining scalable to large groups. Java simulations show that the protocol efficiently distributes keys to large groups in the midst of up to 35 percent node failure rates. In addition, it eliminates the need for logical key hierarchy while preserving an overall reduction in rekey messages to rekey a group. The protocol provides a simple “pull” mechanism to ensure perfect rekeys in spite of the primary rekey mechanism’s probabilistic guarantees, without burdening key distribution facilities. Parameters for overlay management and gossip are improved to minimize rekey message traffic while remaining tolerant to node failure.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number