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802.11i CCMP/TKIP IP Core

General Description

Implementation of the WLAN security standard (802.11i) requires the NIST standard AES cipher in CTR and CBC modes (a.k.a. CCM) for encryption and message authentication with the CCMP protocol and RC4/”Michael” cipher for the TKIP. The WPA3 core is tuned for high data rate 802.11i applications (up to 2 Gbps for the CCMP protocol for 802.11n/802.11ac). The core contains the base AES core AES1, base RC4 core ARC4 and is available for immediate licensing.

The design is fully synchronous and available in both source and netlist form..

Key Features

  • Small size:
       Starting at 40K ASIC gates at 802.11a/g
       OFDM data speeds

  • Includes key lookup, encryption, decryption, header parsing and modification, key expansion and data interface

  • Uses external memory for key storage;

  • Configurable number of keys supported; 64 bytes are required per bidirectional link

  • Support for CCM AES-128 mode (Counter Mode with CBC MAC)

  • Support for RC4 and Michael ciphers, including the WEP Seed calculation

  • Legacy WEP mode supported, including pairwise keys

  • Flow-through design for data plane; microprocessor-friendly interface for configuration

  • Test bench provided

  • Deliverables include test benches



  • WLAN 802.11i


Pin Description

Name Type Description
CLK Input Core clock signal
CEN Input Synchronous enable signal. When LOW the core ignores all its inputs and all its outputs must be ignored.
MODE Input Mode. When HIGH, transmit, when LOW receive
START Input HIGH starting input data processing
READ Output Read request for the input data byte
WRITE Output Write request for the output data byte
DATA_VALID Input HIGH when valid data byte present on the input
OUT_READY Input HIGH when output interface is ready to accept data byte
D[31:0] Input Input Data
Q[31:0] Output Output Data
DONE Output Data processing completed
CPU Input Microprocessor bus for programming. Multiple interface versions available.
MEM Input Local memory bus. Multiple memory configurations are available.

Function Description

The Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) algorithm is a NIST data encryption standard as defined in the FIPS-197 ( http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/fips/fips197/fips-197.pdf ). CCM mode is defined in NIST SP800-38C (http://csrc.nist.gov/publications/nistpubs/800-38C/SP800-38C.pdf ).

The WPA3 implementation fully supports the AES algorithm for 128 bit keys in Counter Mode (CTR) method of encryption with CBC message integrity check as required by the CCMP protocol of the 802.11i standard.

The core also supports ARC4 cipher with “Michael” authentication for the TKIP protocol as defined by the 802.11i standard.

The core is designed for flow-through operation (FIFO-like), with byte-wide input and output interfaces. The key and nonce information are stored in the local memory and automatically updated. PHY header precedes the packet in the data flow. Core performs all necessary per-packet calculations, parses and modifies the packet headers. The decryption results are indicated in the dataflow, including the replay protection.

WPA3 supports both encryption and decryption modes.