Browse Prior Art Database

MAXIMIZING AVAILABILITY OF RADIO NETWORK CONTROLLER ENCRYPTION SERVICE

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000004637D
Original Publication Date: 2001-Mar-08
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2001-Mar-08
Document File: 1 page(s) / 6K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

David Spensley, Jr.: AUTHOR [+2]

Abstract

Motorola has been developing communication systems to provide reliable security for data transmission to its customers. In particular, ASTRO conventional voice and data systems utilize encryption in various components of the infrastructure. This invention provides increased service availability for customers who need encryption services in their ASTRO conventional or trunked data systems.

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MAXIMIZING AVAILABILITY OF RADIO NETWORK CONTROLLER ENCRYPTION SERVICE

by David Spensley, Jr. and Craig Collins

ABSTRACT

Motorola has been developing communication systems to provide reliable security for data transmission to its customers. In particular, ASTRO conventional voice and data systems utilize encryption in various components of the infrastructure. This invention provides increased service availability for customers who need encryption services in their ASTRO conventional or trunked data systems.

MOTIVATION

Availability of encryption services for data users is an important consideration in designing systems that require customer security. This invention optimizes the availability of encryption service to data users requiring secure data transmissions.

PROBLEM DESCRIPTION

In a convention voice/data system, infrastructure components that need data messages encrypted or decrypted utilize an Encryption Module Controller (EMC) to perform these functions. The number of EMC devices that are required by the system is determined by the expected peak traffic flow. A maximum of five EMCs is available in a Radio Network Controller (RNC) for encryption services. To keep security from being compromised, all EMCs undergo cryptographic key updates at predetermined periods during the year. As the cryptographic key updates are being applied to the five EMCs, one EMC at a time, encryption services suffer increasingly degraded capability; while the last of the five EMCs is being upgraded, total loss of cryptography capability exists. After the final EMC is updated, all EMCs are rebooted and brought back into service. The time required to update and reset all five EMCs represents the encryption service outage time. Given 12 updates per year (once a month) and high demand, the encryption service outage time becomes 18 minutes per year. If those 12 updates per year are performed at times of low demand, the outage is six minutes per year.

SOLUTION

This solution provides continual cryptographic service during cryptographic key updates of the EMCs. Currently, each EMC maintains an overall key signature based on its key variables. All EMCs should receive the same key update and thus contain the same key signature. A master "pool" key signature would be established. This signature would be based upon the key signatures of the majority of the EMCs with matching key signatures. When key updates occur, each EMC will be taken out of service as before but rebooted immediately after a key update. When a majority of EMCs contain the new key signature, the master "pool" key signature will be switched over to that new key signature, and the majority EMCs with that new key signature will be brought into encryption service. A transition from two EMCs with the old key signature is made to three EMCs with the new key signature. This provides a continual cryptographic service while th...