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random number generation hardware

Random Number
Generation cores


A Random Number Generator is a computational or physical device designed to generate a sequence of numbers that does not have any easily discernable pattern, such that the sequence can be treated as being random. Such functions may be described as "True" Random Rumber Generators (TRNGs) or "Pseudo" Random Number Generators (PRNGs).

A TRNG generates numbers which for all practical purposes cannot be guessed or predetermined and typically use external physical phenomena to generate true randomness. A PRNG only appears to generate random numbers and actually generates deterministic numbers which have certain statistical properties that from a cursory examination appear to be random, but which can be proven otherwise by analysis.

Uses of Random Numbers in security applications

Random numbers form an integral part of most security systems. Their most obvious use is in the generation of crytographic keys for data encryption, where the generated key can neither be guessed nor computed, even when previous keys are known - the more random the key, the more secure the system. This is a perfect application for a high quality TRNG.

However, there are security applications where a PRNG is more appropriate. For example, when generating Initialisation Vectors for a cipher mode, it is often a requirement that these should be guaranteed unique yet vary significantly from use to use, and a PRNG is an ideal way to generate such values, particulalry since a TRNG does not guarantee uniqueness.

Helion Random Number Generation Solutions

Helion can provide a suite of PRNG solutions based on the well known ANSI X9.31 PRNG standard which can be supplied in AES and 3-Key Triple-DES versions that allow high-rate Pseudo random numbers to be generated. Our PRNG cores are available in versions for use in ASIC as well as Altera, Microsemi (Actel) and Xilinx FPGA technologies, and have been designed with each target technology in mind to yield the most resource efficient PRNG solutions available.

Measured Area and Performance
Altera Cyclone III/IV (C6) 102 Mbps 1048 LEs
Altera Cyclone V (C6) 133 Mbps 322 ALMs
Altera Arria II GX (C4) 167 Mbps 522 ALMs
Altera Arria V GX (C4) 136 Mbps 325 ALMs
Altera Arria 10 (E2L) 170 Mbps 320 ALMs
Altera Stratix IV (C2) 195 Mbps 541 ALMs
Altera Stratix V (C1) 172 Mbps 321 ALMs
Microsemi ProASIC3/E (-2) 42 Mbps 2092 tiles
Xilinx Spartan-3A (-5) 72 Mbps 465 slices
Xilinx Spartan-6 (-3) 113 Mbps 149 slices
Xilinx Virtex-5 (-3) 166 Mbps 160 slices
Xilinx Virtex-6 (-3) 193 Mbps 150 slices
Xilinx Artix-7 (-3) 160 Mbps 147 slices
Xilinx Kintex-7 (-3) 222 Mbps 148 slices
Xilinx Virtex-7 (-3) 222 Mbps 148 slices

The table shows resource and random bit rate figures for the Triple-DES version of the X9.31 PRNG core. The AES version can provide even higher bit rates.


For full details of the Helion PRNG cores, please download the datasheet appropriate to your target technology.

Click here for the Xilinx FPGA core data sheet (PDF format)
Click here for the Altera FPGA core data sheet (PDF format)
Click here for the Microsemi (Actel) FPGA core data sheet (PDF format)

For ASIC, the PRNG core is available separately as an HDL wrapper for use in conjunction with the Helion Standard Triple-DES and AES cores.


For more detailed information on this or any of our other products and services, please feel free to email us at helioncores@heliontech.com and we will be pleased to discuss how we can assist with your individual requirements.

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