University of Oulu

Sanenga, Abraham; Mapunda, Galefang A.; Jacob, Tshepiso M.L.; Marata, Leatile; Basutli, Bokamoso; Chuma, Joseph M. 2020. "An Overview of Key Technologies in Physical Layer Security" Entropy 22, no. 11: 1261.

An overview of key technologies in physical layer security

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Author: Sanenga, Abraham1; Mapunda, Galefang Allycan1; Ludo Jacob, Tshepiso Merapelo1;
Organizations: 1Electrical, Computer, and Telecommunications Engineering, Botswana International University of Science and Technology, Palapye, Botswana
2Center for Wireless Communications, University of Oulu, 90570 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.5 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute, 2020
Publish Date: 2021-03-01


The open nature of radio propagation enables ubiquitous wireless communication. This allows for seamless data transmission. However, unauthorized users may pose a threat to the security of the data being transmitted to authorized users. This gives rise to network vulnerabilities such as hacking, eavesdropping, and jamming of the transmitted information. Physical layer security (PLS) has been identified as one of the promising security approaches to safeguard the transmission from eavesdroppers in a wireless network. It is an alternative to the computationally demanding and complex cryptographic algorithms and techniques. PLS has continually received exponential research interest owing to the possibility of exploiting the characteristics of the wireless channel. One of the main characteristics includes the random nature of the transmission channel. The aforesaid nature makes it possible for confidential and authentic signal transmission between the sender and the receiver in the physical layer. We start by introducing the basic theories of PLS, including the wiretap channel, information-theoretic security, and a brief discussion of the cryptography security technique. Furthermore, an overview of multiple-input multiple-output (MIMO) communication is provided. The main focus of our review is based on the existing key-less PLS optimization techniques, their limitations, and challenges. The paper also looks into the promising key research areas in addressing these shortfalls. Lastly, a comprehensive overview of some of the recent PLS research in 5G and 6G technologies of wireless communication networks is provided.

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Series: Entropy
ISSN: 1099-4300
ISSN-E: 1099-4300
ISSN-L: 1099-4300
Volume: 22
Issue: 11
Article number: 1261
DOI: 10.3390/e22111261
Type of Publication: A2 Review article in a scientific journal
Field of Science: 213 Electronic, automation and communications engineering, electronics
Funding: We would like to acknowledge the Botswana International University of Science and Technology (BIUST) for research funding.
Copyright information: © 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (