Authentication vector management for UMTS

Lin Yi Wu*, Yi-Bing Lin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In Universal Mobile Telecommunication System (UMTS), the security function provides mutual authenticity and key agreement between the core network and the Mobile Station (MS). Specifically, the Serving GPRS Support Node (SGSN) in the core network obtains an array of Authentication Vectors (AVs) from the Home Subscriber Server/Authentication Center (HSS/AuC), and consumes one AV for each mutual authentication. After the departure of the MS, the SGSN may keep the unused AVs for a time interval called the Reservation Timeout (RT) period. If the MS returns within the RT period, the SGSN uses the stored AVs for mutual authentication instead of obtaining new AVs from the HSS/AuC. Note that a long RT period results in fewer accesses to the HSS/AuC at the cost of extra AV storage in the SGSN. In this paper, we propose an analytic model to investigate the impact of the RT period on the system performance. Our study provides the guidelines for the mobile operators to select an appropriate RT period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4101-4107
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Wireless Communications
Issue number11
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2007


  • 3G
  • Authentication vector
  • Security function
  • UMTS core network

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