The Interplay of Markets and Security in 5G Shared Spectrum Services

This project is supported by the National Science Foundation under grant CNS-1908087 and CNS-1908807. This support is graciously acknowledged.


Efficient and secure use of shared spectrum is critical to support the demands from emerging 5G wireless applications that have potential benefits across society. This project is addressing these by considering intertwined economic and security issues in 5G wireless networks that use more flexible spectrum access paradigms, such as the recently finalized rules for the 3.5 GHz Citizens Broadband Radio Service (CBRS) band. These new paradigms will result in new market structures for providing wireless services. However, this expanded flexibility can also lead to an increase in the security vulnerabilities of wireless systems. These two issues are inherently coupled. For example, the emerging market structures can impact the security a firm can offer to its customers and the firm’s willingness to develop and deploy technology to improve on this. Moreover, in many spectrum sharing paradigms there may be different types of interacting firms such as service providers, database operators, etc. The economic and technological interactions among these firms will dictate the resulting security level given to end-users. Such interactions are not well understood in general. The goal of this project is to develop a deeper understanding of the interactions between security and markets in emerging spectrum sharing paradigms, including characterizing the cost and incentives of deploying security mechanisms in market environments. Thus, the project is expected to reduce economic uncertainties tied to security issues in shared spectrum bands.

The research is combining ideas from wireless networking, cyber-security and network economics in ways that have not been previously explored in the context of shared spectrum. Specific problems areas being addressed include (1) studying how wireless service providers should price and provision “security-as-a-service”; (2) understanding the market interactions of multiple wireless service providers and how different spectrum sharing approaches impact the competition and security investment incentives of the providers; (3) evaluating the impact of spatial interferences and their knock-on economic and security effects. The theoretical insights are complemented with an evaluation plan that leverages simulations and available data sets to ensure their robustness and applicability. Other broader impacts being pursued include: (1) engaging undergraduate and under-represented students; (2) developing wireless security labs; and (3) organizing workshop and tutorial sessions on the project’s topic at leading conferences, to inform stakeholders from government, industry, and academia and foster interactions.


Prof. Randall Berry (Northwestern U.) and Prof. David Starobinski (BU)


  • Brendan Baida (PhD, NWU)
  • Jonathan Chamberlain (PhD, BU)
  • Abdurrahman Fouda (PhD, NWU)
  • Stefan Gvozenovic (PhD, BU)
  • Kangle Mu (Ph.D. NWU)
  • Pawan Poojary (PhD, NWU)
  • Zhenpeng Shi (PhD, BU)
  • Nataša Trkulja (PhD, BU)
  • Zongyun Xie (PhD, NWU)
  • Arturo Garcia (Undergraduate, BU)
  • Linglong Le (Undergraduate, BU)
  • Byron Mitchell (Undergraduate, BU)
  • John Mikulskis (Undergraduate, BU)
  • Pranet Sharma (Undergraduate, BU)
  • Pratima Vaidyanathan (Undergraduate, BU)
  • Jilin Zheng (Undergraduate, BU)


  1. Zhenpeng Shi, David Starobinski, and Ariel Orda, “Social Cost Analysis of Shared/Buy-in Computing Systems,” accepted for publication in ACM Transactions on Economics and Computation (TEAC). pdf
  2. Z. Xie and R. Berry, “Market Model of Spectrum Attacks with Shared Spectrum,” WiOpt 2023, Aug. 2023. pdf
  3. P. Poojary and R. Berry, “Welfare effects of ex-ante bias and tie-breaking rules on Observational Learning with Fake Agents,” WiOpt 2023, Aug. 2023. pdf
  4. Jonathan Chamberlain and David Starobinski, “Game Theoretic Analysis of Citizens Broadband Radio Service,” WiOpt 2022, Turin, Italy, September 2022. pdf
  5. P. Poojary and R. Berry, “Observational Learning with Negative Externalities,” 2022 IEEE International Symposium on Information Theory (ISIT), pp. 1495-1496, Espoo, Finland June 2022. pdf
  6. M. Muthuswamy, R. Berry, M. Honig, T. Nguyen, V. Subramanian and R. Vohra, “Spectrum Pooling with Competitive Service Providers,” 2021 IEEE International Symposium on Dynamic Spectrum Access Networks (DySPAN), pp. 169-176, December 2021. pdf
  7. Liangxiao Xin and David Starobinski, “Countering Cascading Denial of Service Attacks on Wi-Fi Networks,” IEEE/ACM Transactions on Networking, Vol. 29, No. 3, pp. 1335-1348, June 2021. pdf
  8. Jonathan Chamberlain and David Starobinski, “Strategic Revenue management of Preemptive versus Non-preemptive Queues,” Operations Research Letters, Vol. 49, pp. 184-187, March 2021. pdf
  9. X. Wang and R. Berry, “Market competition between LTE-U and WiFi,” IEEE Transactions on Network Science and Engineering, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 765-779, Jan. 2021. pdf
  10. Stefan Gvozdenovic, Johannes K. Becker, and David Starobinski, “SDR-based PHY Characterization of Zigbee Devices,” IEEE MWSCAS 2020, August 2020. pdf
  11. Stefan Gvozdenovic, Johannes K. Becker, John Mikulskis, and David Starobinski, “Truncate after Preamble: PHY-based Starvation Attacks on IoT Networks,” ACM WiSec 2020, July 2020. pdf
  12. Jonathan Chamberlain and David Starobinski, “Social Welfare and Price of Anarchy in Preemptive Priority Queues,” Operations Research Letters, Vol. 48, pp. 530-533, July 2020. pdf
  13. A. Ghosh and R. Berry, “Entry and Investment in CBRS Shared Spectrum,” 18th International Symposium on Modeling and Optimization in Mobile, Ad Hoc, and Wireless Networks (WiOPT), June 2020. pdf
  14. Zhenpeng Shi, Azer Bestavros, Ariel Orda, and David Starobinski, “A Game-Theoretic Analysis of Shared/Buy-in Computing Systems,” IEEE Open Journal of the Communications Society, Vol. 1, pp. 190-204, 2020. pdf