Light Reading
Security-chip startup says it's the first to support Advanced Encryption Standard in 802.11i

Cavium Claims Security First

Light Reading
LR Mobile News Analysis
Light Reading
7/28/2003
50%
50%

Staking its claim for some wireless turf, Cavium Networks Inc. is releasing what it claims are the first chips to handle all security standards for wireless LANs (see Cavium Intros 802.11i Chip).

Most makers of 802.11 chips say they'll support the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES), which is a piece of 802.11i, but Cavium's Nitrox Wireless aims to handle all security-related processing, including multiple encryption standards and 802.1x authentication. The chips target wireless LAN switches; in fact, Cavium also announced a product win with Aruba Networks Inc. today.

Cavium is hoping to gain an advantage by offering 10 varieties of Nitrox Wireless, featuring 802.11i processing speeds from 50 to 4,000 packets per second. All 10 use the same application programming interface (API), meaning a systems designer can create one architecture to accommodate any of the chips.

The chips are variations of the Nitrox security processor, which Cavium pitches for SSL and IPSec offloading. As with those protocols, Cavium believes the full weight of AES will be enough to require a dedicated security processor. "In other encryption-engine devices, the CPU has to do a lot of choreographing of the event, giving the [security] processors a lot of instructions," says Mike Scruggs, Cavium product manager.

Specifically, Nitrox Wireless will support the CCMP mode of AES, which is mandated by 802.11i. CCMP is short for Counter-Mode CBC-MAC Protocol (and CBC-MAC stands for Cipher-Block-Chaining Message-Authentication Code, a name that seems to have been created just to make people sorry for asking.)

For backwards compatibility, the chips also support the Temporal Key Integrity Protocol (TKIP), part of the Wi-Fi Protected Access standard that's being deployed as vendors await 802.11i (see 802.11 Security Issues Sorted?). Nitrox Wireless also supports AES' offset codebook (OCB) mode. OCB won't make it into the final version of 802.11i, but it was considered for a time, and some client devices supporting it might be out there, Scruggs says.

Likely competitor Hifn Inc. (Nasdaq: HIFN) doesn't have a wireless-specific chip but does support CCMP in its HIPP family of security processors, says Doug Makishima, vice president of marketing.

Hifn is preparing a firmware release to improve its TKIP support, and a similar booster shot for CCMP will come out later, when 802.11i is closer to finalization (it's still "several quarters" away, Makishima said after last week's IEEE 802 meetings in San Francisco). The company's trump card is that it employs Doug Whiting, who co-authored the original CCMP proposal submitted to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

For now, Hifn has its own share of wins among WLAN switch vendors, none of which can be named, Makishima says.

Prices for the Nitrox Wireless chips range from $15 to $500. All are sampling now, with production slated for the fourth quarter of 2003.

— Craig Matsumoto, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(0)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Educational Resources
sponsor supplied content
Educational Resources Archive
Flash Poll
From The Founder
It's clear to me that the communications industry is divided into two types of people, and only one is living in the real world.
LRTV Documentaries
EE: The Road to 5G

12|16|14   |   16:02   |   (1) comment


Andy Sutton, the principal network architect at UK mobile operator EE, explains how his company is using Wembley stadium as a wireless test bed and how that's helping EE to plan the evolution to 5G.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Highlights of Huawei's NFV Open Cloud Forum 2014

12|16|14   |     |   (0) comments


Huawei hosted its inaugural NFV Open Cloud Forum during the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014 in Düsseldorf, Germany. The Forum brought together technology thought leaders, senior executives and telecom professionals from global carriers, industry associations, as well as other partner companies in the ecosystem, to exchange views on and collectively explore how ...
LRTV Custom TV
Realizing Operators' Digital Vision

12|16|14   |   5:23   |   (0) comments


Leveraging technology is fundamental to digital transformation but understanding customers and serving them really well is at the heart of digital businesses. TM Forum lists the following as the strategic pillars of the digital business: business agility and rapid innovation, operational agility and effectiveness, IT and data centricity, plus customer centricity. ...
LRTV Documentaries
US Cellular Injects Analytics Into LTE

12|16|14   |   2:57   |   (1) comment


US Cellular's Mario Vela explains how the operator uses analytics for network planning and what comes next as the carrier looks to eke more value out of its metrics.
LRTV Interviews
How Cox Biz Plans to Keep Growing

12|15|14   |     |   (1) comment


Steve Rowley, SVP of Cox Business, details how the third-biggest US MSO intends to boost its revenues to $2 billion and beyond over the rest of the decade
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Interview With Bill Zhang, Director of SoftCOM Product Management, Huawei

12|15|14   |   2:50   |   (0) comments


Bill Zhang elaborated on Huawei's open philosophy in NFV solution development and network architecture design at the SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Event Highlights: Huawei at SDN & OpenFlow World Congress 2014

12|15|14   |   3:43   |   (0) comments


Huawei joined the 2014 SDN & OpenFlow Congress as one of the key sponsors and contributors. At the event, Huawei reinforced the openness and flexibility of its network infrastructure strategies, and provided updates on its SDN and NVF innovations. Through participations at the exhibitions, forums and speeches, Huawei encouraged the industry to "think bigger and ...
LRTV Interviews
How Cable Biz Services Hit $10B Mark

12|12|14   |     |   (1) comment


Cable operators reached $10 billion in annual business services revenues by delving deeper into their vertical markets and expanding beyond the smallest firms.
LRTV Documentaries
Mediacom Aims to Test Connected Tractors

12|11|14   |   05:07   |   (3) comments


Cable business service provider is taking its services to the 'agribusiness' sector in partnership with farm equipment specialist John Deere and is getting involved in Gigabit Cities developments.
LRTV Interviews
TWC Business Looks Beyond $3B

12|10|14   |     |   (0) comments


TWC Business Services chief Phil Meeks explains how his unit has reached $3 billion in annual revenues and what its plans are for next year.
LRTV Documentaries
AT&T's New Security Strategy

12|10|14   |   02:36   |   (1) comment


AT&T's Chief Security Officer Ed Amoroso explains how his company is wrapping virtual security layers around micro network domains.
LRTV Documentaries
2020 Vision: A First View

12|9|14   |   02:25   |   (3) comments


At the 2020 Vision Executive Summit in Iceland, unique Heavy Reading research shows that comms service providers are optimistic about the next five or so years.
Upcoming Live Events
February 10, 2015, Atlanta, GA
April 14, 2015, New York City, NY
May 6, 2015, McCormick Convention Center, Chicago, IL
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
Hot Topics
Vodafone to Ride T-Mobile Back Into US
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 12/12/2014
Cisco Makes Big Analytics Push
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 12/11/2014
Gardner's Departure a Cautionary Tale
Carol Wilson, Editor-at-large, 12/12/2014
1-Gig: Coming to a Small Town Near You
Jason Meyers, Senior Editor, Gigabit Cities/IoT, 12/17/2014
T-Mobile Lights Up 27 Wideband LTE Cities
Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, 12/15/2014
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive