Skip to Main Content
A novel wireless local area network (WLAN) security processor is described in this paper. It is designed to offload security encapsulation processing from the host microprocessor in an IEEE 802.11i compliant medium access control layer to a programmable hardware accelerator. The unique design, which comprises dedicated cryptographic instructions and hardware coprocessors, is capable of performing wired equivalent privacy, temporal key integrity protocol, counter mode with cipher block chaining message authentication code protocol, and wireless robust authentication protocol. Existing solutions to wireless security have been implemented on hardware devices and target specific WLAN protocols whereas the programmable security processor proposed in this paper provides support for all WLAN protocols and thus, can offer backwards compatibility as well as future upgrade ability as standards evolve. It provides this additional functionality while still achieving equivalent throughput rates to existing architectures.