Network Working Group D. Garcia
Internet-Draft R. Marin
Intended status: Experimental University of Murcia
Expires: December 1, 2016 A. Kandasamy
A. Pelov
May 30, 2016

LoRaWAN Authentication in RADIUS


This document describes a proposal for adding LoRaWAN support in RADIUS. The purpose is to integrate the LoRaWAN network join procedure with an Authentication, Authorization and Accounting (AAA) infrastructure based on RADIUS.

Status of This Memo

This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering Task Force (IETF). Note that other groups may also distribute working documents as Internet-Drafts. The list of current Internet-Drafts is at

Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

This Internet-Draft will expire on December 1, 2016.

Copyright Notice

Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the document authors. All rights reserved.

This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal Provisions Relating to IETF Documents ( in effect on the date of publication of this document. Please review these documents carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect to this document. Code Components extracted from this document must include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction

Low Power Wide Area Network (LP-WAN) groups several radio technologies that allow communications with nodes far from the central communication endpoint (base station) in the range of kilometers depending on the specifics of the technology and the scenario. They are fairly recent and the protocols to manage those infrastructures are in continuous development. In some cases they may not consider aspects such as key management or directly tackle scalability issue in terms of authentication and authorization. The nodes to be authenticated and authorized is expected to be considerably high in number. One of the protocols that provide a complete solution is LoRaWAN [LoRaWAN]. LoRaWAN is a MAC layer protocol that use LoRa as its physical medium to cover long range (up-to 20km depending on the environment) devices. LoRaWAN is designed for large scale networks and currently has a central entity called network server which maintains a pre-configured key named AppKey for each of the devices on the network. Furthermore, session keys such as NwkSKey and AppSKey used for encryption of data messages, are derived with the help of this AppKey. Since each service provider would operate their network server individually, authenticating the devices becomes a tedious process because of inter-interoperability or the roaming challenges between the operators. As we know the AAA infrastructure provides a flexible, scalable solution. They offer an opportunity to manage all these proceses in a centralized manner as happens in other type of networks (e.g. cellular, wifi, etc...) making it an interesting asset when integrated into the LoRaWAN architecture.

                  +-------+        +-------+              +--------+
+------+          |       |        |       |              |        |
|      +--(LoRa)--+       +--(IP)--+       +-----(IP)-----+        |
+------+          |       |        |       |              |        |
                  +-------+        +-------+              +--------+
End-Device         Gateway          Network               Application
                                    Server                  Server

Figure 1: LoRAWAN Architecture

The End-Device communicates with the Gateway by using the LoRa modulation. The Gateway acts as a simple transceiver, which forwards all data do the Network Server, which performs the processing of the frames, network frame authentication (MIC verification), and which serves as Network Access Port. The Application Server can be handling user data OR can be used during the join procedure to accept an End-Node to the network. In this case, the Application Server is called a Join Server. This document describes a way to use standard RADIUS servers as a Join Server, and to use the RADIUS protocol for the interaction between the Network Server and the Application Server.

                  +-------+        +-------+              +--------+
+------+          |       |        |       |              |        |
|AppKey+--(LoRa)--+       +--(IP)--+       +---(RADIUS)---+ AppKey |
+------+          |       |        |       |              |        |
                  +-------+        +-------+              +--------+
End-Device         Gateway          Network                 RADIUS 
                                    Server                  Server
                               (+ RADIUS client)

Figure 2: LoRAWAN Architecture with AAA and RADIUS authentication. End-Device and RADIUS server have a shared secret - the AppKey, which is used to derive the session keys (NwkSKey and AppSKey).

The document describes how LoRaWAN join procedure is integrated with AAA infrastructure using RADIUS [RFC2865] by defining the new attributes needed to support the LoRaWAN exchange.

1.1. Requirements Language

The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT", "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [RFC2119].

2. LoRaWAN support in RADIUS

Regarding the overall functionality, the RADIUS LoRaWAN support defines the new Attributes needed for the management of the join procedure. A NAS (RADIUS client) that that intends to support this specification MUST implement the RADIUS attributes for this service. The NAS-Port-Type specifying the type of port on which the NAS is authenticating the end-device in this case MAY be 18 ( Wireless - Other ) or a new one specifically assigned for LoRaWAN (TBD.).

3. LoRaWAN joining procedure

The LoRaWAN joining procedure as described in the LoRaWAN Specification 1.0 [LoRaWAN] consists on one exchange. The first message of this exchange is called join-request (JR) message and is sent from the end-device to the network server containing the AppEUI and DevEUI of the end-device with additionally a nonce of 2 octets called DevNonce. See Figure 3

Size (bytes)  |      8      |      8      |      2      |
Join Request  |   AppEUI    |    DevEUI   |   DevNonce  |

Figure 3: Join Request Message

In response to the join-request, the other endpoint will answer with the join-accept (JA) (Figure 4) if the end-device is successfully authenticated and authorized to join the network. The join-accept contains a nonce (AppNonce), a network identifier (NetID), an end-device address (DevAddr), a delay between the TX and RX (RxDelay) and, optionally, the CFList (see LoRaWAN specification [LoRaWAN] section 7).

Size (bytes)|   3    |  3  |   4   |    1     |   1   |16 (Optional)|
Join Accept |AppNonce|NetID|DevAddr|DLSettings|RxDelay|    CFList   |

Figure 4: Join Accept Message

4. Protocol Overview

4.1. Protocol Assumptions

For the proposal for LoRaWAN support in RADIUS next we describe some assumptions regarding the LoRaWAN specification. The first is that the AppKey is only shared between the AAA server and the end-device. The outcome of the successful join procedure (i.e. NwkSKey and AppSKey) are sent from the AAA server to the network-server. This allows for the end-device to exchange message with the network-server, once the join procedure is finished, as specified in LoRaWAN [LoRaWAN].

4.2. Protocol Exchange

                        network-server                            AAA
end-device                   (NAS)                               Server
-----------                ---------                            -------
    |                         |                                    |
    |  JR[MIC]                |                   Access-Request   |
    |------------------------>|                  Join-Request Att  |
    |                         |                  Join-Answer Att*  |
    |                         |----------------------------------->|
    |                         |                                    |
    |   gen                   |                                    |  gen
    |    |                    |                                    |   |
    |    |                    |                      Access-Accept |   |
    |    v                    |                   Join-Answer Att  |   v
    | AppSKey                 |                      AppSKey Att*  | AppSKey
    | NwkSKey                 |                        NwSKey Att  | NwkSKey
    |                         |<-----------------------------------|
    |  JA[MIC]                |                                    |
    |<------------------------|                                    |
    |                         |                                    |

Figure 5: Protocol

The join procedure between the end-device and the network-server entails one exchange consisting on a join-request message and a join-response message. In RADIUS the network-server implements a RADIUS client to communicate with the AAA Server. Upon reception of the LoRaWAN join-request message, the network-server creates an Access-Request message, with the Join-Request attribute containing the original message from the end-device, and the Join-Answer Attribute with all the fields, except for the MIC that will be calculated by the AAA Server, since is the one that holds the AppKey. Once the AAA Server authenticates and authorizes the end-device, sends back the Join-Answer with the MIC generated as specified by the LoRaWAN specification. Furthermore, as a consequence of a successful join procedure, the AppSKey (optional) and NwkSKey are generated and sent along in AppSKey and NwkSKey Attributes respectively. The NAS receives the Access-Accept (if successful), obtains the content of the Join-Request attribute and sends it to the end-device, storing in association with that end-device the NwSKey and the AppSKey.

4.2.1. Join-Request Attribute

This Attribute contains the original Join-Request message. This attribute will only appear in the Access-Request message.

4.2.2. Join-Answer Attribute

This Attribute is used in both Access-Request and Access-Accept messages. In the first case it contains the Join Answer message with all the needed values filled by the network-server so the AAA server that holds the AppKey is able to create the MIC, that in this case is not present (marked with an *). In the second case, it contains the message with the MIC generated by the AAA server.

4.2.3. AppSKey Attribute

This Attribute contains the AppSKey, an application session key specific for the end-device. This attribute is optional, and will only appear in the Access-Accept message.

4.2.4. NwkSKey Attribute

This Attribute contains the NwkSKey, an network session key specific for the end-device. This attribute will only appear in the Access-Accept message.

5. RADIUS-Diameter Interaction


6. Acknowledgments

This work has been possible partially by the SMARTIE project (FP7-SMARTIE-609062 EU Project) and the Spanish National Project CICYT EDISON (TIN2014-52099-R) granted by the Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness of Spain (including ERDF support).

7. Security Considerations


8. IANA Considerations

This document has no actions for IANA.

9. References

9.1. Normative References

[RFC2119] Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels", BCP 14, RFC 2119, DOI 10.17487/RFC2119, March 1997.
[RFC2865] Rigney, C., Willens, S., Rubens, A. and W. Simpson, "Remote Authentication Dial In User Service (RADIUS)", RFC 2865, DOI 10.17487/RFC2865, June 2000.

9.2. Informative References

[LoRaWAN] Sornin, N., Luis, M., Eirich, T. and T. Kramp, "LoRa Specification V1.0", January 2015.

Authors' Addresses

Dan Garcia-Carrillo (Ed.) University of Murcia Campus de Espinardo S/N, Faculty of Computer Science Murcia, 30100 Spain Phone: +34 868 88 78 82 EMail:
Rafa Marin-Lopez University of Murcia Campus de Espinardo S/N, Faculty of Computer Science Murcia, 30100 Spain Phone: +34 868 88 85 01 EMail:
Arunprabhu Kandasamy Acklio 2bis rue de la Chataigneraie 35510 Cesson-Sevigne Cedex, France EMail:
Alexander Pelov Acklio 2bis rue de la Chataigneraie 35510 Cesson-Sevigne Cedex, France EMail: