Demonstrating Redundancy Advantages of a Three-Channel Communication Protocol


  • Scott Culbreth AFIT
  • Scott Graham AFIT



Multi-Channel, Security, Encryption, Networking


Multi-Channel communications have the potential to provide advantages in security and redundancy. One widespread example of additional security is the use of 2 Factor Authentication wherein an authorization code is sent via a separate channel. As another example, spread spectrum technology offers resilience against channel interference. However, no currently deployed communication protocols take advantage of the full spectrum of security and performance gains that can be obtained through transmitting data over multiple channels.  Taking inspiration from Redundant Array of Inexpensive Disks (RAID) and their use of data striping and mirroring, a secure multi-channel communication protocol was developed that is able to have greater security than an equivalent single channel system while also having greater resiliency against data corruption, therefore requiring fewer, if any, retransmissions than a single channel system when operating in a low availability environment. This approach admittedly comes with significant overhead, both in the use of additional channels and the need for additional processing. Whether the security and availability gains are worth the costs is an open question, with specific answers highly dependent on the particular applications.  A specific multi-channel communication protocol, with three independent channels, and incorporating duplication on the bit level, was built and exercised within the OMNeT++ simulation environment in order to examine specific aspects of performance and security of the protocol.  This exercise demonstrates that a secure multi-channel protocol operates with less latency than an equivalent single channel system when experiencing less than 50% channel corruption due to adversarial injection, resulting in reduced data loss and need for re-transmissions.