The conventional approach to ensure confidential communications relies on public-key/private-key protocols, which operate on error-free data after the physical-layer has been established. While the effectiveness of this approach in traditional settings is unquestionable, new systems are emerging where treating confidentiality as an overlay feature of top of reliability may not be the most appropriate solution. In particular, modern wireless networks, which comprise heterogeneous nodes with limited computational and energy resources, would benefit from the integration by design of confidentiality in the physical-layer, especially if this can be done in a cost-effective way.
In this talk, we will provide a perspective on what physical-layer security can realistically do for wireless communication systems. Our objective will be not only to review the challenges faced by physical-layer security but also to present some of our recent research activities in the areas of information theory, coding theory, and wireless systems, that suggest potential solutions to overcome these challenges.