A peer-to-peer approach for resolving ID's

Study Thesis by Michael Leuchtner, carried out at TecO, University of Karlsruhe, August 2003

In every part of our life, we have to deal with identification mechanisms: barcodes or credit cards are the most common examples. But today, where communication techniques like internet and mobile devices are wide spreaded, IDs offer much more possibilites: they can act as a bridge between the real world, where objects are tagged with ID, e.g. barcodes or RFIDs. Based on this ID, these objects can be identified in a data network and matched to arbitary informations, or vice versa. A typical application area could be the super market scenario, which is illustrated in figure 1.

Figure 1: A customer in a super market moves a product(1), tagged with an RFID, in front of an RFID-Reader(2), which triggers a request on the network(4). The customer gets product informations on a display(3) from the network.

Our approach to resolve IDs in a network is peer-to-peer based, for several reasons: in P2P networks no central instance is necassary and it improves scalability. We have set up a system, based on an existing network. Our P2P core environment is the JXTA Project.

The system has three major design parameters:

The basic scenario is the following: Several Peers are connected via the JXTA Network, some act as enquirer - requesting services - some act as resolver - providing services - some as both. To enforce secure communication GnuPG is used for a public key encryption. The path for requesting an information is shown in figure 2: an enquirer starts a query for a service and recieves serveral answers from other peers (resolvers). He connects to the resolvers and sends an encrypted and signed message to the resolver. If the resolver is valid, he can encrpyt the message with his private key and send an - also encrypted and signed - answer.

Figure 2: requesting for a service

The basic features of the system are implemented and have been tested successfully in our test environment. The study thesis shows, that peer-to-peer based resolving of IDs is possible and that it has several advantages: providing anonymity for example is easy in P2P networks.
On the other hand, the distribution of the public keys without loss of security is an unsolved problem, a client-server approach may be necasssary for this. Also the response time for one request of 4-6 seconds is a problem for some applications.


The study thesis (in German) Identifikationsauflösung mittels eines Peer-to-Peer Netzwerks
Poster, presented at Ubicomp 2003 in Seattle A Peer-to-Peer Approach for Resolving RFIDs

Michael Leuchtner
Last modified: Thu Dec 11 21:08:53 CET 2003