New high-speed encryption for fiber links

CHICAGO ' An Israeli network management company is hoping to break into the U.S. government market with a high-speed encryptor for metro and wide-area Ethernet networks.

'We see a lot of demand for this, especially in military and government,' and in private sector elements of critical infrastructure such as financial-services companies and utilities, said Gali Malkiel, product manager for ECI Telecom.

ECI announced plans for the Aurora-G encryptor earlier this month. It was developed at the request of one of the company's European military customers, and the company is at the NXTcomm telecom trade show this week trying to drum up interest in this country. It is expected to be available by year's end.

Aurora-G encryption is a feature of the company's flagship XDM Multi-Service Provisioning Platform. It encrypts high-capacity Ethernet traffic using 256-bit Advanced Encryption Standard. It would sit at the edge of a local-area or enterprise network to protect traffic on fiber optic links between sites, but not between end users.

'Our first release is point to point,' Malkiel said. 'In a later release, which will be available as a software upgrade, it will be point to multipoint.'

A big selling point for the product is expected to be its ability to operate transparently on the network ' regardless of the application ' without affecting quality of service or interfering with delay-sensitive applications such as video.

'Our encryption is done in hardware, and we are doing it in Layer 2,' Malkiel said. 'It is most secure to encrypt at the lowest level' of the networking stack.

Another selling point would be centralized management. Aurora-G's functionalities, including key management, are managed remotely through ECI's LightSoft network management system. Administrators can specify key changes at any interval.

Although ECI is familiar with European government and military markets, it could take several years before its products see adoption in this country, said Oren Barkai, senior systems architect in the company's Government and Defense Solutions business unit.

'Government sales are always very hard,' Barkai said. 'Accessing the government market is a long and arduous task.'

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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