ARC International has released a middleware software package and added extensions to its ARCtangent processor core that will allow designers to embed IP secure (IPsec) and Internet key exchange (IKE) capabilities to their communication chip designs.
Interest in security processing is on the upswing, despite a weak economy, said David Fritz, vice president of technical marketing at ARC, Wayne, N.J.
To address the security concerns of equipment developers, the company this week is unveiling its IPShield middleware software package. The software handles IPsec processing tasks such as DES, AES, and triple DES (3DES) encryption/decryption algorithms. It also provides the MD5 and SHA-1 hash/authentication algorithms.
Once the IPsec tunnel is established, IPShield delivers the IKE software needed to negotiate with other clients. Supported IKE features include main, quick, and aggressive modes; automatic key exchange; automatic network address translation traversal; and manual key management.
Support for secure socket layer traffic, however, is missing from the IPShield package, but Fritz said SSL is a roadmap item that should be simple to add.
"SSL can be handled as a total software upgrade," he said. "We don't need to input any extensions in the ARCtangent core to support it."
IPShield can be employed on a host of processor architectures, according to the company, including the ARM, MIPS, and ARCtangent. However, to capture more design wins, ARC's engineering team has added some instructions to the ARCtangent A5 configurable processor core that makes implementing IPShield to the core a more attractive option, Fritz said.
Through the new instructions, ARC's MQX real-time operating system (RTOS) is informed about encrypted packets entering the processor core, he said. The RTOS then directs these packets to one of the hardware acceleration blocks where it is decrypted. The decrypted stream is then shipped off for processing.
The IPShield middleware is available now and supplied in source-code format. Pricing starts at $30,000.