AES-GCM: Advanced Encryption Standard Core

Block Diagram

Solution Type: IP Core

End Market: Automotive, Broadcast, Computer & Storage, Consumer, Industrial, Medical, Military, Wireless, Wireline

Evaluation Method: OpenCore, OpenCore Plus

Technology: DSP

Arria Series: Arria 10, Arria V, Arria 10 SoC, Arria V SoC

Cyclone Series: Cyclone IV, Cyclone V, Cyclone V SoC

MAX Series: MAX 10

Stratix Series: Stratix IV, Stratix V


Supported Device Family: 

Solution Type: 


The AES-GCM encryption IP core implements Rijndael encoding and decoding in compliance with the NIST Advanced Encryption Standard. It processes 128-bit blocks, and is programmable for 128-, 192-, and 256-bit key lengths. Two architectural versions are available to suit system requirements. The Standard version (AES32) is more compact, using a 32-bit datapath and requiring 44/52/60 clock cycles for each data block (128/192/256-bit cipher key, respectively). The Fast version (AES128) achieves higher throughput, using a 128-bit datapath and requiring 11/13/15 clock cycles for each data block. GCM stands for Galois Counter. GCM is a generic authenticate-and-encrypt block cipher mode. A Galois Field (GF) multiplier/accumulator is utilized to generate an authentication tag while CTR (Counter) mode is used to encrypt.


  • Standards: Satisfies Federal Information Processing Standard (FIPS) Publication 197 from the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)
  • Throughput: standard/fast version: 2.9/11.6 Mbits/MHz for 128-bit key, 2.5/9.8 Mbits/MHz for 192-bit key, 2.1/8.5 Mbits/MHz for 256-bit key
  • Configuration: Works with a pre-expended key or can integrate the optional key expansion function
  • Deliverables: include test benches, C model and test vector generator

Device Utilization and Performance

The core can be mapped to any Altera Family and optimized to suit the particular project's requirements. The AES-GCM core synthesizes to 778 ALMs for the standard version and to 2,187 ALMs for the fast version. On a Stratix V device, the core can run at least 150 providing a throughput of 436 Mbps for the standard version, or 1.74 Gbps for the fast version.

Getting Started

Contact CAST at to arrange for a core evaluation

IP Quality Metrics

Year IP was first released2001
Latest version of Quartus supported15.1
Altera Customer Use
IP has been successfully implemented in production with at least one customerY

Customer deliverables include the following:

  • Design file (encrypted source code or post-synthesis netlist)
  • Simulation model for ModelSim Altera edition
  • Timing and/or layout constraints
  • Testbench or design example
  • Documentation with revision control
  • Readme file
Any additional customer deliverables provided with IP
Bit Accurate Model
Parameterization GUI allowing end user to configure IPN
IP core is enabled for OpenCore Plus SupportY
Source language
Testbench languageVerilog; VHDL
Software drivers providedN
Driver OS supportNot required
User InterfaceOther: generic uP
IP-XACT Metadata includedN
Simulators supportedModelSim, Questa, NC-SIM
Hardware validated N. Altera Board Name NULL
Industry standard compliance testing performed
If No, is it planned?N
IP has undergone interoperability testing
Interoperability reports available  N

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