Low-Latency Encryption – Is “Lightweight = Light + Wait”?
- Cite this paper as:
- Knežević M., Nikov V., Rombouts P. (2012) Low-Latency Encryption – Is “Lightweight = Light + Wait”?. In: Prouff E., Schaumont P. (eds) Cryptographic Hardware and Embedded Systems – CHES 2012. CHES 2012. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, vol 7428. Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg
The processing time required by a cryptographic primitive implemented in hardware is an important metric for its performance but it has not received much attention in recent publications on lightweight cryptography. Nevertheless, there are important applications for cost effective low-latency encryption. As the first step in the field, this paper explores the low-latency behavior of hardware implementations of a set of block ciphers. The latency of the implementations is investigated as well as the trade-offs with other metrics such as circuit area, time-area product, power, and energy consumption. The obtained results are related back to the properties of the underlying cipher algorithm and, as it turns out, the number of rounds, their complexity, and the similarity of encryption and decryption procedures have a strong impact on the results. We provide a qualitative description and conclude with a set of recommendations for aspiring low-latency block cipher designers.