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Method of Generating Identification Numbers for Networked Electronic Devices.

IP.com Disclosure Number: IPCOM000010906D
Original Publication Date: 2003-Jan-30
Included in the Prior Art Database: 2003-Jan-30
Document File: 3 page(s) / 26K

Publishing Venue

Motorola

Related People

Seng P. Xiong: AUTHOR

Abstract

This report describes a method of generating identification numbers for networked electronic devices using uninitialized system random access memory.

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This is the abbreviated version, containing approximately 50% of the total text.

Method of Generating Identification Numbers for

Networked Electronic Devices.

By

Seng P. Xiong

Abstract:

This report describes a method of generating identification numbers for networked electronic devices using uninitialized system random access memory.

Description:

More and more electronic devices are being designed with the intent of being connected together through networks. These networks allow devices to pass information to and from each other. Each device connected to the network must be distinguishable. The devices must be able to recognize when they are being queried and in some cases they must be able to direct queries to other devices connected to the network. The most common way of distinguishing between networked electronic devices is through the use of identification numbers.

Since the idea of using numbers to identify devices on a network is not new, there are numerous ways of generating these identification numbers. One particular method is to embed a unique serial number of the given length inside the networked device at the time of manufacture. This serial number is usually stored in a non-volatile memory device inside the networked device. The main drawbacks of this method are the cost of having non-volatile memory to store the serial number, storing the serial number into the non-volatile memory during the manufacturing of the networked devices, and managing the serial numbers.

Another method for generating identification numbers is to have the networked devices use complex algorithms to generate pseudo random numbers to be used for their identification numbers on board. These pseudo random number generator algorithms can either be implemented in hardware or software. The main drawback to this method is the extra complexity of the algorithms to generate the identification number. If the algorithm is implemented in dedicated hardware, there is additional cost for the hardware. If the algorithm is implemented in software, it will use additional CPU resources and processing timing.

Most networked electronic devices employ at least one CPU and some RAM to perform processing. RAM is volatile by its design. Every bit in a RAM device is not guaranteed to retain its state once power is removed. Its values are random and undetermined when first powered up and are not initialized. The probability of different RAM devices having the same uninitialized values at all locations is very small. With the random nature of RAM, if a sufficiently long uninitialized RAM string is used as an identification number, a device will be distinguishable in a network.

The following firmware source code was written for a NEC 8-bit microcontroller to test this idea.� The firmware returns a 32-byte stri...