Wireless mesh networks (WMNs) are one of the key technologies that will dominate wireless networking in the few years. The main characteristics of WMNs permit network connectivity anywhere anytime with simplicity and low cost. Their capability for self-organization significantly reduces the complexity of network deployment. The draft standard of IEEE P802.11 s™/D4.0 is not considered secure for the routing protocol. In this paper, we propose a secure Hybrid-Wireless-Mesh Protocol using an Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA-HWMP). We then compare the ECDSA-based HWMP against identity-based encryption (IBE)-based HWMP. This study has been carried out to show the great benefits of the IBE technique in securing HWMP. Through extensive Network Simulator-3 simulations, results have shown that the IBE-HWMP outperforms the ECDSA-HWMP in terms of overhead, throughput, loss ratio and delay. Simulation results show that the use of the IBE-based HWMP provides a greater level of security with light overhead. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.