FPGA Implementation of Metastability-Based True Random Number Generator

Hisashi HATA  Shuichi ICHIKAWA  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Information and Systems   Vol.E95-D   No.2   pp.426-436
Publication Date: 2012/02/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1361
Print ISSN: 0916-8532
Type of Manuscript: Special Section PAPER (Special Section on Reconfigurable Systems)
Category: Application
TRNG,  synchronous digital circuit,  FPGA,  entropy,  

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True random number generators (TRNGs) are important as a basis for computer security. Though there are some TRNGs composed of analog circuit, the use of digital circuits is desired for the application of TRNGs to logic LSIs. Some of the digital TRNGs utilize jitter in free-running ring oscillators as a source of entropy, which consume large power. Another type of TRNG exploits the metastability of a latch to generate entropy. Although this kind of TRNG has been mostly implemented with full-custom LSI technology, this study presents an implementation based on common FPGA technology. Our TRNG is comprised of logic gates only, and can be integrated in any kind of logic LSI. The RS latch in our TRNG is implemented as a hard-macro to guarantee the quality of randomness by minimizing the signal skew and load imbalance of internal nodes. To improve the quality and throughput, the output of 64–256 latches are XOR'ed. The derived design was verified on a Xilinx Virtex-4 FPGA (XC4VFX20), and passed NIST statistical test suite without post-processing. Our TRNG with 256 latches occupies 580 slices, while achieving 12.5 Mbps throughput.