To Apple’s Chagrin, Broadcom Advances in Network Security + WiFi

Broadcom has put itself at the bleeding edge of the networking industry, thanks to its willingness to adopt new technologies and strong strategic relationships with companies such as Apple. This week, the company reaffirmed this dominant stance with two updates that will turn out to be beneficial for corporate clients and customers and end-users alike.

Firstly, the company announced that it has added new security measures to its entire portfolio of IP, satellite and cable set-top box (STB) platforms.  Broadcom pegs the technology as ‘differential power analysis countermeasures’ licensed from a firm called Cryptography Research, which holds 60 patents in this particular area.

DPA attacks are a way of obtaining cryptographic keys by analyzing the power consumption patterns of the device that stores them, be it a set-top box or an integrated circuit. Broadcom sells both.

Building on the licensing agreement announced last year, we are pleased to introduce the implementation and availability of our technology with Broadcom,” said Paul Kocher, Cryptography Research President and Chief Scientist.  “Broadcom is the first set-top box SoC manufacturer to deliver DPA countermeasure technology with leading and widely deployed solutions around the world.”

The second update from Broadcom is more of a rumor. Insiders report that the chipmaker is collaborating with long time partner and client Apple to develop chips that support 802.11ac WiFi. Often referred to as 5G, the upcoming standard is far superior to the 802.11ac used by providers today: it’s at least three times fast as its predecessor, both in terms of connection speed and throughput.

Apple is quick to jump on new promising technologies. The iPhone 5 is the latest example: the phone comes equipped with Broadcom’s BCM43341, the first chip to offer support for 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM radio on a single piece of silicon.