Wireless distributed consensus and blockchain for communications and beyond

Xu, Hao (2022) Wireless distributed consensus and blockchain for communications and beyond. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

Due to Embargo and/or Third Party Copyright restrictions, this thesis is not available in this service.


Blockchain is likely to be the core enabling technology of future generation distributed systems. This thesis explores the architecture design and thinking of wireless blockchain-enabled systems, from the underlay physical principle of consensus to the top-level architecture for blockchain-enabled applications and ecosystems. The thesis aims to deliver a comprehensive state-of-art study on blockchain technology in communications and privacy-preserving aspects, particularly in blockchain methodologies for wireless communications and privacy-preserving using blockchain.

First, the study of wireless blockchain Networks in the presence of malicious jamming using wireless consensus networks is presented with detailed modeling of SINR analysis and optimizations. This study shows the great potential of RAFT consensus to be applied in wireless IoT ecosystems to establish trust and consensus mechanisms without central authority’s involvement. Based on the RAFT consensus mechanism, this thesis investigates the security performance of wireless blockchain networks in the presence of malicious jamming. We first map and model the blockchain transaction as a wireless network composed of uplink and downlink transmissions by assuming the follower nodes’ position as a Poisson Point Process with a selected leader location. The probability of successful blockchain transactions is derived and verified by extensive simulations. The results provide analytical guidance for the practical deployment of wireless blockchain networks.

Second, the thesis explores the wide scope of blockchain-enabled resource management, including spectrum, computing, storage, and energy. Based on the blockchain-enabled architecture, communication infrastructure can interact with inter-domain elements, orchestrating regional and global computing and energy resources while making the sharing ecosystem more accountable and functional in future generation communication systems, such as 6G. The 6G network must provide performance superior to previous generations to meet the requirements of emerging services and applications, such as multi-gigabit transmission rate, even higher reliability, and sub-1-millisecond latency and ubiquitous connection for the Internet of Everything. However, with the scarcity of spectrum resources, efficient resource management and sharing are crucial to achieving all these ambitious requirements. One possible technology to achieve all this is the blockchain. Because of its inherent properties, the blockchain has recently gained an important position, which is of great significance to the 6G network and other networks. In particular, the integration of the blockchain in 6G will enable the network to monitor and manage resource utilization and sharing efficiently.

Third, the thesis illustrates how blockchain is coupled with Radio Access Network, thereby reinforcing the security within O-RAN scope. RAN tends to be more distributed in the 5G and beyond to provide low latency and flexible on-demanding services to edge/local users. In this thesis, Blockchain-enabled Radio Access Networks is proposed as a novel decentralized RAN architecture to facilitate enhanced security and privacy on identification and authentication. It can offer user-centric identity management for User Equipment and RAN elements and enable mutual authentication to all entities while enabling on-demand point-to-point communication with accountable billing service add-ons for public network users. Also, a potential operating model with thorough decentralization of RAN is envisioned. This thesis also proposes a distributed privacy-preserving P2P communication approach, as one of the core use cases for future mobile networks, which is presented as an essential complement to the existing core network-based security and privacy management. The results show that BE-RAN significantly improves communication and computation overheads compared to the existing communication authentication protocols while bringing the next level privacy-preserving features with decentralized identity management.

Fourth, privacy-preserving applications are also explored in this thesis, particularly on data marketplace and contact tracing applications. The first application focuses on handling data in a blockchain-enabled data marketplace, where the seller and buyers are protected against privacy breaches. Under the proposed data marketplace framework, the buyer is eligible for requesting data with its encrypted identity, and the inherent smart contracts are in place to secure the transactions while offering additional similarity checks and auditions. The second application BeepTrace is an initiative to help fight COVID-19 with the help of contact tracing and protect users’ privacy by using an encrypted methodology based on the blockchain platform. BeepTrace scheme gained public interest in its early stage and was fostered by commercial funding into a real application available for trials. The BeepTrace App has gone through several trials in compliance with University ethical regulations and privacy terms and conditions.

By building the trust and consensus mechanisms without central authority’s involvement, blockchain is capable of connecting people, devices, events, time and space together for a ubiquitously connected past, current and future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Colleges/Schools: College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering
Supervisor's Name: Zhang, Dr. Lei
Date of Award: 2022
Embargo Date: 13 May 2023
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2022-82880
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 16 May 2022 14:05
Last Modified: 16 May 2022 15:24
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.82880
URI: https://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/82880
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