AMPHION LAUNCHES HIGH PERFORMANCE "RIJNDAEL" AES CORES FOR HARDWARE-ACCELERATED STRONG ENCRYPTION APPLICATIONS
IP cores for ASIC and programmable logic offer high-strength data encryption for e-Commerce, secure enterprise networks, private personal communications, safety-critical control systems
Belfast, Northern Ireland (August 8, 2001) - Amphion Semiconductor Ltd. announces today its intention to become the dominant provider of semiconductor Intellectual Property for network, financial, communications, consumer and other electronic systems incorporating Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) technology. The company will be releasing a range of application-specific cores - twenty-two different products in all - for a burgeoning array of applications requiring data encryption in compliance with Advanced Encryption Standard, the new international standard for strong encryption based on the Rijndael algorithm. Amphion (formerly Integrated Silicon Systems) is an established provider of application-specific cores for System-on-a-Chip, ASIC and programmable logic designs for convergence applications in multimedia, wireless and broadband communications.
AES has been developed to ensure the highest degree of security and authenticity for digital information, wherever and however communicated or stored, while making more efficient use of hardware and/or software than previous encryption standards, such as DES and 3-DES. Based on the Rijndael encryption algorithm adopted by the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST), and approved for use by the US government and the European Union, implementations of AES in hardware and/or software are designed to protect digital information - data, voice, video, images - from attack, impersonation, or electronic eavesdropping.
Amphion AES cores
The Amphion CS5210-80 Series of AES Encryption and Decryption IP core products are all hardware-based designs, optimized for performance using direct-mapped techniques and offering anything from one to five orders magnitude performance over processor-hosted software program solutions, and other competing third-party IP core solutions.
Amphion has developed four distinct product variants to provide embedded systems designers with the industry's most flexible, compact and optimal solutions for the rapid implementation of AES encryption and decryption in silicon - SoC, ASIC, or programmable logic devices. Amphion has optimized its initial product offering for TMSC processes (using Artisan standard cell libraries), Altera APEX20K PLD technology and Xilinx Virtex-II FPGA technology. Amphion's AES cores can be combined with Amphion cores for MPEG-2 video, JPEG image compression or Forward Error Correction (FEC), to build highly integrated solutions for secure multimedia communications using System-on-a-Chip or field programmable logic device technology.
Broadly speaking, AES has impact in the following areas: it will improve (a) data privacy - protection from unauthorized viewing or redirection, and (b) data authenticity/integrity - prevention of modification, insertion, deletion, and forgery (impostering).
"The end-user market for Amphion AES core technology is absolutely huge and very diverse. Encryption is set to pervade most areas of wireless and wire-line communications, from personal mobile telephony, private corporate communications and streaming media, to Internet based e-commerce and secure electronic financial transactions." said J G Doherty, Amphion's CEO and co-founder. "It's quite conceivable that every mobile communicator, server, and Internet-enabled appliance in the communications infrastructure worldwide will embed strong encryption technology in some form or other. High performance encryption products feed into Amphion's semiconductor IP road-map to platform IP solutions for wireless multimedia communications."
New Products, Applications
The Amphion CS5210-5280 Series of application-specific cores for Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) applications facilitate the direct implementation in silicon hardware of the Rijndael encryption/decryption algorithm. Available in targeted-netlist ("Firm IP") formats for integration in SoC, ASIC, and programmable logic devices (Altera, Xilinx, etc), these IP cores offer the best combination of power, performance, and cost to help system designers deliver higher bandwidth, truly mobile, secure, multimedia applications.
Amphion has engineered eight distinct AES core variants (four types for encryption operation, and four types for decryption operation) to address various market segments, system design constraints, and semiconductor technologies. There are four highly-optimized cipher engine product variants for encryption (CS5210-CS5240), and four complement products for decryption (CS5250-CS5280). All variants (Standard, Compact, Fast, Ultra Fast) are fully compliant with AES and are available in versions for ASIC and programmable logic:
Standard: entry-level AES encryption and decryption cores for general-purpose embedded applications; 3 selectable security strengths (128-bit, 192-bit, and 256-bit keys);
Compact: smaller footprint (128-bit keys only) AES encryption and decryption cores for area-critical designs;
Fast: fast, low-latency (128-bit keys only) AES encryption and decryption cores for a range of high performance applications;
Ultra Fast: extreme-performance, pipelined-design (single 128-bit key) AES encryption and decryption cores for ultra high-speed networks and multi-connection (eg, SSL) applications.
The Amphion CS5210-5280 Series can be used to upgrade (retrofit) digital systems for greater security and can be used in conjunction with other Amphion semiconductor IP products for video and image compression, speech/voice coding, and channel coding to design new state-of-the-art systems. Headline applications include Storage Area Network (SAN) security, Virtual Private Network (VPN) encryption, massively parallel SSL enabled webservers (for e-Commerce), WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) gateways, and AES for Wireless LAN standards, such as IEEE 802.11i.
The Amphion CS5210-5280 Series AES cores are not available for license until after September 10, 2001. (Export terms and conditions may apply).
About AES, Rijndael algorithm
In 1997 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a request for possible candidates for a new Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) to replace the existing Data Encryption Standard (DES). After a four-year process, in February 2001, the NIST selected the so-called "Rijndael" algorithm to replace DES. Co-developed by Joan Daemen and Vincent Rijmen, the Rijndael (pronounced Rhine-dahl) algorithm was declared the "winner" according to several important criteria. In performance comparison studies carried out on all five AES finalists, Rijndael - a block cipher - proved to be both the fastest algorithm and offer the most efficient hardware utilization. So Rijndael can be used in all applications where a high degree of security is desired - stronger, in fact, than 3-DES - but where computational (hardware) resources are limited. AES uses a higher number of bits for encrypting each key than other methods; it also offers performance advantages across a broad range of applications. There are various modes for applying Rijndael and, although the algorithm is currently the highest-strength encryption scheme known, it must be used intelligently to withstand the most advanced attacks.
Amphion is the leading supplier of application-specific silicon cores and system-level Intellectual Property (IP) core solutions for IP-based System-on-a-Chip (SoC) integrated circuit designs for wireless and broadband communications applications. Previously known as Integrated Silicon Systems Ltd, or ISS, until year-end 2000, the company has a track record of innovation in semiconductor Intellectual Property design, including the first application-specific cores for motion JPEG image compression in programmable logic and a portfolio of patents in image compression and data communications. Amphion delivers video/image compression, speech/voice coding, channel coding, and signal processing solutions for consumer and communications applications. Amphion offers a range of products designed to be the cornerstones of advanced convergence products. Using proprietary techniques for direct-mapped implementations of digital signal processing functions and algorithms in hardware, Amphion develops and licenses application-specific cores that realize 10X to 1000X improvements in performance compared to conventional implementations using software-programmable DSP processors. Amphion is a privately-held company with corporate headquarters in Belfast, Northern Ireland, UK and worldwide sales and marketing headquarters in San Jose, California. For more information, visit http://www.Amphion.com
Notes to Editors
Amphion, The Amphion logo, "Virtual Components for the Converging World", "Innovation by Amphion", are trademarks of Amphion Semiconductor Ltd. All other brand names or product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners.
David Mann, Amphion
Europe: +44 28 9050 4040
Ron Sailors, Amphion
North America: (408) 441-1248