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Ubiquitous computing must incorporate a certain level of security. For the severely resource constrained applications, the energy-efficient and small size cryptography algorithm implementation is a critical problem. Hardware implementations of the advanced encryption standard (AES) for authentication and encryption are presented. An energy consumption variable is derived to evaluate low-power design strategies for battery-powered devices. It proves that compact AES architectures fail to optimize the AES hardware energy, whereas reducing invalid switching activities and implementing power-optimized sub-modules are the reasonable methods. Implementations of different substitution box (S-Boxes) structures are presented with 0.25 μm 1.8 V CMOS (complementary metal oxide semiconductor) standard cell library. The comparisons and trade-offs among area, security, and power are explored. The experimental results show that Galois field composite S-Boxes have smaller size and highest security but consume considerably more power, whereas decoder-switch-encoder S-Boxes have the best power characteristics with disadvantages in terms of size and security. The combination of these two type S-Boxes instead of homogeneous S-Boxes in AES circuit will lead to optimal schemes. The technique of latch-dividing data path is analyzed, and the quantitative simulation results demonstrate that this approach diminishes the glitches effectively at a very low hardware cost.