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Journal of Sensors
Volume 2016, Article ID 2678269, 9 pages
Research Article

Power Adaptive Data Encryption for Energy-Efficient and Secure Communication in Solar-Powered Wireless Sensor Networks

School of Electronic Engineering, Soongsil University, 369 Sangdo-ro, Dongjak-gu, Seoul 06987, Republic of Korea

Received 16 November 2015; Revised 5 February 2016; Accepted 11 February 2016

Academic Editor: Hana Vaisocherova

Copyright © 2016 Jong Min Kim et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Basic security of data transmission in battery-powered wireless sensor networks (WSNs) is typically achieved by symmetric-key encryption, which uses little energy; but solar-powered WSNs sometimes have sufficient energy to achieve a higher level of security through public-key encryption. However, if energy input and usage are not balanced, nodes may black out. By switching between symmetric-key and public-key encryption, based on an energy threshold, the level of security can be traded off against the urgency of energy-saving. This policy can also reduce the amount of energy used by some nodes in a WSN, since data encrypted using a public-key is simply relayed by intermediate nodes, whereas data encrypted using a symmetric-key must be decrypted and reencrypted in every node on its path. Through a simulation, we compared the use of either symmetric-key or public-key encryption alone with our scheme, which was shown to be more secure, to use energy more effectively, and to reduce the occurrence of node blackouts.