Flexibility, Performance and Low Cost of Altera’s Solution Beats Out Off-the-Shelf Processor and ASSP Alternatives
Wi-Fi Planet Expo, Baltimore Convention Center, Baltimore, Md., June 7, 2004— KoolSpan, Inc. is using Altera Corporation’s (NASDAQ: ALTR) low-cost Cyclone FPGAs and Nios embedded processor to deliver advanced encryption standard (AES) encryption/decryption and other critical functionality in its SecurEdge Lock solution, the companies announced today. KoolSpan’s SecurEdge system provides security and access control for wireless fidelity (Wi-Fi) local area networks (LANs). KoolSpan chose the Altera solution over other hardware solutions because of the unbeatable combination of performance, low cost, and flexibility delivered by the combination of the Nios processor and Cyclone FPGAs.
“Our SecurEdge products require a high degree of performance to transparently deliver 256-bit AES security and authentication for our customers’ Wi-Fi networks,” said Tony Fascenda, chief executive officer and chief technical officer of KoolSpan. “After evaluating several hardware options, including off-the-shelf processors and ASSPs, we determined that an Altera Cyclone FPGA hosting a Nios processor was the best fit for our needs. The high performance of the Cyclone FPGAs allows us to use the slowest speed grade device to meet our current product needs, which lowers our costs and increases the value of Altera’s solution to us even further.”
In KoolSpan’s SecurEdge Lock, Altera’s Nios processor is used to implement internal system interfaces for memories and a smart card. The smart cards enable network operators to access the encrypted database of registered users in the SecurEdge Lock. For future products, KoolSpan has several options to upgrade their performance which will allow them to address wider markets. These upgrade options include using higher speed-grade Cyclone devices, migrating software functions to hardware, and adopting the Nios II processor, none of which will require modifications to the PC board. The SecurEdge hardware was developed for KoolSpan by Altera Consultants Alliance Program (ACAP) partner Advanced Logical Design, a Northern-California-based leading provider of engineering and hardware design services, and the software for the Nios processor was developed by Gibbons and Associates, Inc.
“Cyclone devices are the lowest cost FPGAs and deliver a more than 50% performance advantage over their nearest competitors,” said Erik Cleage, senior vice president of marketing at Altera. “KoolSpan is one of the many product developers who rely on the extraordinary price/performance ratio of the Cyclone family to deliver uncompromising speed while keeping costs to a minimum. Combined with the ability to implement an inexpensive and customizable Nios processor in a Cyclone device, this speed advantage enables our customers to affordably achieve ASSP-like performance and with the flexibility of an FPGA.”
KoolSpan will be demonstrating their SecurEdge product at the Wi-Fi Planet Exposition at booth 616.
Built from the ground up to ensure the lowest possible cost, Cyclone devices are the industry’s lowest-cost FPGAs available today. Built on the advanced 0.13-micron, all-layer copper process, Altera developed the Cyclone device family to provide designers of high-volume, price-sensitive applications the flexibility of an FPGA at ASIC prices. With support for leading edge and emerging I/O standards, the Cyclone device family includes embedded RAM blocks and other features to put FPGA technology in the hands of designers developing volume-driven applications in the communication, consumer, computing, industrial and automotive markets. For more information about the Cyclone device family, visit www.altera.com/cyclone.
About the Nios Embedded Processor
Altera's Nios embedded processor is the world's most widely licensed soft-core embedded processor today. The Nios embedded processor is a general-purpose RISC CPU that can be combined with a wide array of peripherals, custom instructions, and hardware acceleration units to create a custom system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) solution. The processor features a 16-bit instruction set and user-selectable 16- or 32-bit data paths, configurable for a wide range of applications. A typical 32-bit data path Nios processor consumes only $2.00 worth of logic in Altera's low-cost Cyclone FPGAs, making it one of the lowest cost RISC processors available today. The Nios embedded processor is royalty free when used in Altera FPGAs and HardCopyTM devices. An ASIC license for OEM applications is available for an additional charge. For more information, visit www.altera.com/nios.
Altera created the Altera Consultants Alliance Program to give Altera's customers access to superior engineering consultants with an expert knowledge of Altera's device architectures and tools. These consultants have the proven ability and track record for accelerating complex PLD design schedules to facilitate a customer's time-to-market needs. More information about ACAP is available at http://www.altera.com/products/design_services/dsv-index.html.
KoolSpan (www.KoolSpan.com) has developed an affordable approach to Wi-Fi security that allows businesses to provide authentication and security for all Wi-Fi users, even when they are using public Wi-Fi networks – thus eliminating a critical barrier to Wi-Fi adoption for businesses. KoolSpan's patent-pending technology, which plugs into a device's USB port, employs the tamper-resistant "smart" token used in millions of cell phones worldwide. The solution's bi-directional, Layer 2, AES encryption architecture protects against the many vulnerabilities that have been identified with Wi-Fi networks while providing ease of use when moving among home, office, remote and public Wi-Fi networks. KoolSpan founder, Tony Fascenda, holds more than 10 wireless patents. He has a history of delivering successful solutions that solve complex technology problems with a simple, straightforward no-nonsense approach. KoolSpan, based in Bethesda, Md., is privately funded.
Altera Corporation (NASDAQ: ALTR) is the world's pioneer in system-on-a-programmable-chip (SOPC) solutions. Combining programmable logic technology with software tools, intellectual property, and technical services, Altera provides high-value programmable solutions to approximately 14,000 customers worldwide. More information is available at www.altera.com.