In this thesis, a novel protocol stack architecture is presented. The Future Core Networks System (FCNS) forms a secure reference model for use in packet-switched structures, with its applicability ranging from computer to telecommunication networks. An insight on currently used network protocol systems is given, analysing standardised sets of communication rules with respect to the security they afford to the messages exchanged. The lack of protection schemes for the internal protocol stack messages and the implementation pitfalls of their security architectures are described, in relation to the effects they have on the communication process. The OSI security model is also considered, with disadvantages identified in the placement of security functionality and its management. The drawbacks depicted for currently used systems form the motivation behind this work. The analysis of the FCNS follows, which is composed of three parts. In the first part, the FCNS communication layers are examined, with respect to the mechanisms used to establish, maintain and tear down a connection between peer entities. In the second part, the security mechanisms of the proposed reference architecture are given, including details on the FCNS keystream generator used for the security of the internal FCNS messages. Finally, the FCNS Error Protocol is depicted, illustrating the modes of operation and advantages it exhibits over currently used systems. The work then moves into presenting details of the software FCNS implementation, followed by the presentation of the results and measurements obtained by the case studies created. Comparisons are given in relation to the TCP/IP suite, to provide the means of identifying the FCNS applicability in various network environments. The work is concluded by presenting the FCNS functionality in delivering information for the UMTS, together with further work that may enhance the flexibility and use of the proposed architecture
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