As part of our ongoing research into Next Generation Wireless Networks at the NTRG, we have investigated a number of authentication and accounting mechanisms. We envisage that in the future there will be a large number of independent service providers and network operators, who will provide wireless access to a very large user population. In such environments existing approaches to billing and accounting become increasingly inadequate. Below we present some recent work that has been carried out in the group in the area of electronic payments. Previous work resulted in members of the NTRG publishing a leading text book in the area entitled Electronic Payment Systems for E-Commerce. The first edition of the book was published in 1997.

Real-Time Payments for Mobile IP
The first protocol entitled Real-Time Payments for Mobile IP provides a mechanism for service providers (SPs) to be paid in real-time for network usage by roaming users, who may not have a long-lived accounting relationship with them. A good example could be a shopping mall where there could be a number of interconnected access points. As the user moves around the mall, micromobility protocols such as Cellular IP or HAWAII perform the location management functions. The user purchases SP specific payment tokens from a trusted broker in the system and releases them as payment for network access. These tokens serve the dual purpose of authentication prior to any routing changes that are performed in the network.

Network Overview

Multiparty Micropayments for Ad Hoc Networks
Nodes which are not within the radio range of an access point connected to the fixed network may relay packets through nodes in the ad hoc network. We have developed a flexible payment mechanism which allows a node to pay other nodes in the relay path in real-time for packet forwarding.