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Aiming for secure big data, ADVA puts line-side encryption into its 100G networking gear

ADVA Optical Networking, based in southern Germany, has released a new 100G technology for metro network deployments — generally, connecting data centers within a metropolitan area — that includes built-in encryption on the network layer.

The advantage of this kind of “Layer 1” encryption is that it doesn’t slow down the data throughput much, but rivals such as Cisco(s csco) are not yet supporting super-speedy 100Gbps data rates with such a product — ADVA, with the new version of its FSP 3000 optical transport “solution”, is. In short, this new multiplexer may hold appeal for enterprises and even telcos that want to be able to securely handle lots of data at high speed.

ADVA’s 100G Metro tech is protocol-agnostic, so it can handle Ethernet, fiber, Infiniband and so on. Its “line-side” encryption is based on the Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) and uses 256-bit keys, with over 60 key exchanges an hour. As it encrypts not only the payload but also headers and checksums –- nothing unencrypted for spooks and hackers to intercept — it’s really for point-to-point setups and you’d need an ADVA box on either end of the connection.

What’s impressive is that adding this encryption to standard 100G Metro products adds under 150 nanoseconds in latency, which isn’t a lot. Handily for carriers, it’s also possible to separate the management of the network and encryption, which should make it easier to service enterprises that want to manage their own encryption over a leased service.

According to Uli Schlegel, ADVA’s director of data center business development, the competition is at least a year behind on all this. Whether or not that bears out, it’s certainly interesting to see vendors baking encryption into modern, capacious networks in a way that doesn’t overly affect throughput. Maybe big data and security can play nice after all.

Here’s a slightly trippy ADVA video on the subject:

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