Vendors tackle high-speed encryption

Thales and Alcatel say they have developed a way to encrypt data traveling over optical networks that use Dense Wave Division Multiplexing technology without a big drop in performance.

Two companies say they have developed a way to encrypt data traveling over high-speed optical networks using commercial products.

The solution Thales and Alcatel demonstrated focused on securing transmissions over Synchronous Optical Networks equipped with Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) technology.

DWDM is a technique for improving bandwidth by splitting an optical link into multiple strands of light. That approach makes it possible to send more data through the same fiber, but it also makes it difficult to encrypt that data without slowing network performance.

Thales sells data encryption technology for optical networks, and Alcatel offers DWDM modules and related technology. The companies tested the use of their products and found no significant delays, officials at both companies said. The test involved the Thales’ Sonet Datacryptor and Alcatel's 1677 Sonet Link with DWDM modules.

The companies are targeting customers in government agencies and financial institutions that require high-speed optical networks and are concerned about security. Thales' Datacryptor is certified for compliance with Federal Information Processing Standard 140-2 for cryptography, and it supports two data encryption standards, 3DES and the Advanced Encryption Standard.