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BlueSteel Networks -- Security Processors
Founded: Mar 1999
Status: Acquired by Broadcom 1/00
Issue(s): 10/99
67 East Evelyn Avenue, Suite 350
Mountain View, CA 94041
Tel: 650/625-0500
Fax: 650/625-0524

BlueSteel was founded in March 1999 to develop security processors for e-Commerce and VPN applications. The company has raised seed funding from private investors and V/Cs and is currently in discussions for first round financing. Bluesteel has about 10 employees and is growing rapidly. The company’s board of advisors and consultants includes the co-inventor of Public-Key cryptography, the architect of SSL version 3.0, and the co-author of initial IPSec IETF draft.

BlueSteel is developing a family of Security Processors for VPN and e-Commerce applications. It’s chips accelerate IPSec and SSL Internet protocols and support popular security algorithms including DES and 3DES for symmetric encryption, SHA-1 and MD-5 for keyed hash authentication, and Diffie-Hellman, RSA, and DSA for public key infrastructure. The IPsec industry standard combines encryption and authentication to enable sensitive data to travel safely across the public Internet via Virtual Public Networks (VPNs). BlueSteel’s ICs are targeted at routers, gateways, firewalls, cable and DSL modems, VPN equipment and SSL/TLS enabled web servers.

The company has developed a proprietary architecture for cryptography accelerators that performance scales through gigabit levels and is claimed to provides a credible barrier to potential competitors. BlueSteel’s architecture allows multiple packets to be processed simultaneously and is claimed to offer the best system performance of any currently shipping IPSec processors. The architecture allows extremely high performance in torture test scenarios, like small packet sizes, 3DES and SHA1/MD5 enabled, and a different security association on every packet. Unlike other devices, the BlueSteel architecture does not use external memory while allowing a virtually unlimited number of IPSec security associations.

The first product family, uBSec (ubiquitous Broadband Security), provides hardware based encryption for IPSec VPN processing. The uBSec 5501 security processor, the first product in the uBSec line, recently started sampling. The device features an integrated PCI 2.1 compliant interface and directly supports DES and 3DES encryption and MD-5 and SHA1 authentication. Flexible programming allows the device to support a wide range of industry standard network security protocols, including IPSec. The uBSec 5501 delivers more than 200 Mbps of peak encryption processing (3DES and SHA1/MD5 enabled) for IP-based VPN applications, and sustains at least 155Mbs throughput in system configurations.

The 5501 is pin compatible with Hi/fn’s encryption processors and is positioned to go directly after Hi/fn sockets. The 5501 is $25 @ 10Ku, significantly less than Hi/fn’s prices. It is faster than Hi/fn’s current production devices, although its speed is approx. equivalent to Hi/fn’s recently announced 7811. The 5501 does not include Hi/fn’s patented LZS compression, but Bluesteel make a strong case for eliminating compression in high speed VPNs. Bluesteel has developed a lean and mean encryption processor that is well positioned to grab a chunk of the encryption market. We’d like to see a more flexible device, like Chrysalis-ITS’ security processor, but that’s probably too much to ask for in a low-cost, high speed socket stealer.

The 5501 is fabricated at Chip Express using a gate array methodology. Eventually the device will be ported to Charted using a standard cell methodology. Over the next few quarters Bluesteel will introduce several follow-on chips for midrange and high-end edge devices which require VPN functionality. The company expects to release its eCommerce accelerator (SSL) Processor in early 2000. This device will be able to perform 1024-bit private key operation an order of magnitude faster than general-purpose CPUs.

Suresh Krishna, President & CTO, Co-Founder (formerly Director of 3D graphics Hardware Engineering at Fujitsu Micro)

Chris Owen, VP of Engineering, Co-Founder (formerly Manager of Methodology and Verification at Packet Link, a networking startup, and Manager of Methodology and Design Verification at Oak)

Dan Eakins, VP of Marketing & Business Development, Co-Founder (formerly co-founder & VP of marketing at BOPS)

Morey Schapira, VP of Sales (most recently the Western Regional manager of Sales for Netcom)

David Chin, Ph.D., Director of Engineering, Co-Founder (formerly spent 9 years in a variety of positions at Intel)

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