Multi-Hop Routing in Covert Wireless Networks

Azadeh Sheikholeslami, Majid Ghaderi, Don Towsley, Boulat A. Bash, Saikat Guha, Dennis Goeckel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


In covert communication, Alice tries to communicate with Bob without being detected by a warden Willie. When the distance between Alice and Bob becomes large compared with the distance between Alice and Willie(s), the performance of covert communication will be degraded. In this case, multi-hop message transmission via intermediate relays can help to improve the performance. Hence, in this paper, multi-hop covert communication over a moderate size network and in the presence of multiple collaborating Willies is considered. The relays can transmit covertly using either a single key for all relays or different independent keys at the relays. For each case, we develop efficient algorithms to find optimal paths with maximum throughput and minimum end-to-end delay between Alice and Bob. As expected, employing multiple hops significantly improves the ability to communicate covertly versus the case of a single-hop transmission. Furthermore, at the expense of more shared key bits, analytical results and numerical simulations demonstrate that the multi-hop covert communication with different independent keys at the relays has better performance than the multi-hop covert communication with a single key.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3656-3669
Number of pages14
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 2018


  • Covert communication
  • physical layer security
  • routing
  • wireless networks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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