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random number generation hardware

Random Number
Generation cores


A Random Number Generator is a computational or physical device designed to generate a sequence of numbers that does not have any easily discernable pattern, such that the sequence can be treated as being random. Such functions may be described as "True" Random Rumber Generators (TRNGs) or "Pseudo" Random Number Generators (PRNGs).

A TRNG generates numbers which for all practical purposes cannot be guessed or predetermined and typically use external physical phenomena to generate true randomness. A PRNG only appears to generate random numbers and actually generates deterministic numbers which have certain statistical properties that from a cursory examination appear to be random, but which can be proven otherwise by analysis.

Uses of Random Numbers in security applications

Random numbers form an integral part of most security systems. Their most obvious use is in the generation of crytographic keys for data encryption, where the generated key can neither be guessed nor computed, even when previous keys are known - the more random the key, the more secure the system. This is a perfect application for a high quality TRNG.

However, there are security applications where a PRNG is more appropriate. For example, when generating Initialisation Vectors for a cipher mode, it is often a requirement that these should be guaranteed unique yet vary significantly from use to use, and a PRNG is an ideal way to generate such values, particulalry since a TRNG does not guarantee uniqueness.

Helion Random Number Generation Solutions

Helion can provide Random Number Generator IP cores for the NIST SP800-90A AES-CTR mode Deterministic Random Bit Generator (CTR_DRBG) and the ANSI X9.31 standard PRNG (AES or Triple-DES version). Both cores are available in versions for use in ASIC as well as the full range of Altera, Microsemi (Actel) and Xilinx FPGA technologies and they have been designed with each target technology in mind to provide the most resource efficient RNG solutions available.

Measured Area and Performance
NIST SP800-90A CTR_DRBG - Tiny 128-bit keysize version

Altera Cyclone V (C6) 176 Mbps 260 ALMs
Altera Cyclone 10 GX (E5) 234 Mbps 264 ALMs
Altera Arria II GX (C4) 204 Mbps 283 ALMs
Altera Arria V GX (C4) 192 Mbps 269 ALMs
Altera Arria 10 (E1S) 269 Mbps 276 ALMs
Altera Stratix IV (C2) 151 Mbps 296 ALMs
Altera Stratix V (C1) 222 Mbps 259 ALMs
Xilinx Spartan-6 (-3) 150 Mbps 75 slices
Xilinx Virtex-5 (-3) 226 Mbps 78 slices
Xilinx Virtex-6 (-3) 294 Mbps 73 slices
Xilinx Artix-7 (-3) 215 Mbps 72 slices
Xilinx Kintex-7 (-3) 312 Mbps 71 slices
Xilinx Virtex-7 (-3) 312 Mbps 71 slices
Xilinx UltraSCALE (-2) 370 Mbps 74 CLBs
Xilinx UltraSCALE+ (-2) 463 Mbps 58 CLBs

The table shows resource and random bit rates for the Tiny CTR_DRBG core. The Helion Standard CTR_DRBG core can provide higher bit rates, please contact us for further details.

ANSI X9.31 PRNG - Triple-DES 3-key version

Altera Cyclone III/IV (C6) 102 Mbps 1048 LEs
Altera Cyclone V (C6) 133 Mbps 322 ALMs
Altera Cyclone 10 GX (E5) 170 Mbps 313 ALMs
Altera Arria II GX (C4) 167 Mbps 522 ALMs
Altera Arria V GX (C4) 136 Mbps 325 ALMs
Altera Arria 10 (E1S) 195 Mbps 331 ALMs
Altera Stratix IV (C2) 195 Mbps 541 ALMs
Altera Stratix V (C1) 172 Mbps 321 ALMs
Microsemi ProASIC3/E (-2) 42 Mbps 2092 tiles
Xilinx Spartan-3A (-5) 72 Mbps 465 slices
Xilinx Spartan-6 (-3) 113 Mbps 149 slices
Xilinx Virtex-5 (-3) 166 Mbps 160 slices
Xilinx Virtex-6 (-3) 193 Mbps 150 slices
Xilinx Artix-7 (-3) 160 Mbps 147 slices
Xilinx Kintex-7 (-3) 222 Mbps 148 slices
Xilinx Virtex-7 (-3) 222 Mbps 148 slices
Xilinx UltraSCALE (-2) 249 Mbps 92 CLBs
Xilinx UltraSCALE+ (-2) 309 Mbps 87 CLBs

The table shows resource and random bit rate figures for the Triple-DES version of the X9.31 PRNG core. The AES version can support higher bit rates, please contact us for more details.


For more detailed information on this or any of our other products and services, please feel free to email us at helioncores@heliontech.com and we will be pleased to discuss how we can assist with your individual requirements.

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