Complete Communications Engineering

MIKEY or Multimedia Internet KEYing is a key management system for real time secure protocols, in particular SRTP. Since SRTP is used in secure VOIP communication, MIKEY is as well. MIKEY is a key management system used to create, store, and distribute keys that will be the basis for encrypting the RTP communication between one or many entities. MIKEY boasts simplicity, efficiency, end-to-end security, and depending on the key exchange mechanism used (such as public key, or Diffie Hellman,) the ratio of security to overhead can be optimised to many differing scenarios.

Since MIKEY payloads are used in setting up secure media streams, it is located within the SDP session. When considering a VOIP context, MIKEY resides in the SIP message since SIP contains SDP. Each MIKEY message contains a very specific payload which when combined with other responses and constants will create the keys necessary for a secure communication connection. The flexibility of payload types has enabled MIKEY to adapt to a changing internet by allowing new payloads to interact seamlessly with original types.

The end product of MIKEY is a Traffic Encryption Key (TEK) which the initializing party will then allocate to all entities it wishes to establish a secure connection with. The TEK can be created using the following method:

MIKEY Multimedia Internet Keying
Fig 1: MIKEY outputs a Traffic Encryption Key (TEK) for all entities to establish a secure connection