TI Debuts Industry-Compliant Security Framework for VoIP Products

7/13/2004 - Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN), which has been supplying solutions to the IP telephony industry since its inception, announced a new suite of industry-compliant security features for Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP)-enabled customer premises equipment (CPE) applications. TI's robust security framework is designed to make IP phones and VoIP gateways less vulnerable to denial-of-service attacks while ensuring higher Quality of Service (QoS) levels for packet-based voice traffic. Furthermore, because these new features can be easily configured to meet evolving industry security standards and emerging market requirements, TI's approach reduces customers’ costs and speeds their time to market.

Secure voice communications has gained the attention of service providers, equipment manufacturers and end users alike, and has evolved into a key requirement for VoIP solutions. Network devices such as IP phones and VoIP gateways are particularly vulnerable to denial-of–service attacks because voice connections require consistent and reliable access to enterprise networks to ensure adequate QoS. While attackers commonly use malformed frames or packet floods to execute these attacks, TI's approach pre-screens incoming packets thereby reducing or eliminating their effectiveness. Furthermore, TI's Ethernet pre-processing engine performs static packet filtering on all incoming packets, so that malformed packets are discarded by the engine. Combined, these mechanisms should significantly reduce the risk of denial-of-services attacks for packet-based voice transmissions.

An additional feature of TI's security framework is designed to enhance QoS for voice. TI's approach dynamically allocates packet memory for voice traffic so that as traffic increases, hardware can be configured to ensure that voice traffic is not starved for bandwidth. This eliminates the risk that packet overruns will impact voice quality in IP phone and VoIP gateway systems.

"Security is a critical component of VoIP, and TI's new framework addresses every major security concern. They have architected a framework that is easily configurable for the adoption of new security standards, making it a long-lasting solution to protect manufacturers' investments," said Jon Arnold at Frost & Sullivan. "This end-to-end security solution is a natural extension of TI's pioneering efforts in VoIP and we anticipate it will become embraced industry-wide."

TI's unique approach combines hardware and software to form the basis of its security framework. The first configurable security feature being offered on TI's TNETV1050 IP phone solution is an infrastructure for supporting IP Security Protocol (IPSec). The security infrastructure supports the Message Digest (MD5) and Secure Hash Algorithm (SHA-1) authentication protocols and three cryptographic protocols: Data Encryption Standard (DES), Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES) and Advanced Encryption Standard (AES). Following the initial rollout, TI will introduce Secure RTP (SRTP) for voice payloads, as well as industry-standard solutions for key exchange and security for SIP signaling messages. TI's IP phone and VoIP gateway processors are all 802.1x compliant, supporting both supplicant and authenticator modes. 802.1x is a method for limiting access of devices that have not been authenticated on the network. These new features will complement TI's existing security suite for VoIP applications.

"TI is not only at the forefront of the industry in the development of VoIP solutions, but we're leading the next critical step in its adoption, which is delivering secure voice communications," said Fred Zimmerman, executive director, customer premises solutions, TI's VoIP business unit. "Our configurable approach to securing client devices is designed to protect our customers' investments in VoIP as well as enhance the end user’s experience with voice quality, both of which are key concerns for service providers, equipment manufacturers and IT managers alike."

Texas Instruments Broadband Solutions
For OEMs developing broadband communications solutions, TI's advanced signal processing-based silicon and software platforms deliver the optimal performance, lower power consumption, and system-level integration required to rapidly deploy differentiated next-generation products for cable modems, digital subscriber line (xDSL) modems, integrated access devices (IADs), VoIP gateways, carrier infrastructure, and home and office wireless networking. See www.ti.com/broadband.

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