Elliptic Curve Cryptoprocessor Core from Athena Sets New Standard for NIST P-Curve Performance

                                                 Exar Licenses Athena's Elliptic Curve Technology

Gainesville, FL — August 26, 2009 — The Athena Group, Inc., the leader in high-performance public key cryptography performance, today announced the industry’s fastest elliptic curve accelerator core. With an incredibly small area footprint, starting at less than 200K-gates, the E5200 is both the highest performance core available and the highest density in terms of performance per unit area. The E5200 employs Athena’s patented arithmetic technology and patented cryptographic algorithms to deliver this extraordinary performance across the entire spectrum of public key operations.

Not only is the TeraFire E5200 the fastest elliptic curve accelerator core, it also delivers the fastest performance for RSA, Diffie-Hellman, EC-DSA, ECMQV, NIST P-curve point multiplication, and other public key cryptography operations. The E5200 implements optimized elliptic curve instructions, P-curve specific hardware acceleration, and is a single-core design rather than an array implementation - so fastest also means lowest latency.

“Elliptic Curve Performance, specifically NIST P-Curve performance for Suite B cryptography, will be essential in the next-generation security products, especially for the government and critical infrastructure markets,” said Dr. Doug Whiting, Chief Scientist at Exar. “Our work with Athena is a continuation of Exar’s dedication to utilizing world-class technologies to deliver high performing, very efficient, next-generation products.”

“Athena is pleased to have Exar as the lead customer for the E5200,” said Dr. Jon Mellott, CTO of Athena. “The E5200 combines the performance-density advantages of Athena’s patented arithmetic technology with the flexibility of a fully programmable public key cryptography microprocessor to deliver superior performance, area, and system integration attributes in an obsolescence-proof solution. The E5200 is the keystone for the strong security that is essential for connected products.”

The E5200 is a member of the TeraFire T5200 family of cryptography microprocessors, the only programmable public key cryptography cores. The E5200 implements Athena's proprietary PK instruction set architecture, enabling the autonomous execution of any PK operation, including any of the over 50 elliptic curve cryptography algorithms. This powerful, flexible microprocessor can easily accommodate new standards with a simple firmware update, ensuring that your application will always be able to handle new requirements and protocols.

A summary of key performance metrics for the E5200 follows:

E5211 E5221
Operation op/s latency op/s latency
RSA-1024 Private Key 3947 253 us 3947 253 us
RSA-1024 Private Key w/ Paired Cores 7893 127 us 7893 127 us
1024-bit Full Expo 760 1.32 ms 2280 439 us
RSA-2048 Private Key 379 2.6 ms 1144 874 us
RSA-2048 Private Key w/ Paired Cores 757 1.32 ms 2275 440 us
2048-bit Full Expo 128 7.8 ms 207 4.8 ms
1024-bit Full Expo (e=2**16+1) 61.2K 16 us 145K 7 us
160-bit EC Point Multiply 2211 452 us 2211 452 us
192-bit EC Point Multiply 1761 568 us 1761 568 us
256-bit EC Point Multiply 1381 724 us 1381 724 us
NIST P-256 EC Point Multiply 2393 418 us 2393 418 us
384-bit EC Point Multiply 868 1.15 ms 868 1.15 ms
NIST P-384 EC Point Multiply 1211 826 us 1211 826 us
521-bit EC Point Multiply 519 1.93 ms 519 1.93 ms
Area (K-gates) (not including memory) 194 306

The E5200 comes complete with a suite of software that executes high-level algorithms such as RSA and EC-DSA natively on the E5200. The E5200 also includes an assembler and software simulator to enable rapid software development and a host-based library of cryptographic software that includes drivers.

Athena's TeraFire Security Accelerator Cores

With a complete family of security IP cores and software, and multiple levels of performance for every function, Athena supports your product succession strategy. TeraFire cores have been delivered in technologies ranging from FPGAs to structured and standard cell ASICs, ready for integration into your product. Whether your next application is a low speed data terminal or a high performance network security appliance, Athena is ready to help you analyze your security hardware requirements and customize a package of functions for your specific application.

About The Athena Group, Inc.

Based in Gainesville, Florida, Athena innovates breakthrough technologies that achieve the optimum balance of power, performance, and silicon area in a wide range of applications such as wireless, satellite, and secure communications. Athena provides patented semiconductor intellectual property (IP) solutions, with products ranging from the market-leading TeraFire® security cores, to Atomic DSP™ cores, and Atomic SDR™ software defined radio cores.

Athena was founded in 1986 and is privately held.

For more information, please visit www.athena-group.com.


Pat Rugg, VP Sales and Marketing
The Athena Group, Inc.
408 W. University Avenue, Suite 306
Gainesville, FL 32601
Phone: (352) 371-2567 ext. 307
Toll-free: (800) 741-7440
Email: Email Contact

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