Silicon Firewall Prototype

by Cheng, Jin

Abstract (Summary)
The Internet is a technological advance that provides access to information, and the ability to publish information, in revolutionary ways. There is also a major danger that provides the ability to corrupt and destroy information as well. When a computer is connected to the Internet, three things are put at risk: the data storage, the computing resources and the users reputation. In order to balance the advantages and risks, the contact between a computer and the Internet or the contact between different networks should be controlled carefully.

A firewall is a form of protection that allows a network to connect to the Internet or to another network while maintaining a degree of security. The firewall is an effective type of network security, and in most situations, it is the most effective tool for doing that.

With the availability of larger bandwidth, it is becoming more and more difficult for traditional software firewalls to function over a high-speed connection. In addition, the advances in network hardware technology, such as routers, and new applications of firewalls have caused the software firewall to be an impediment to high throughput. This network bottleneck leads to the requirement for new solutions to balance performance and security. Replacing software with hardware could lead to improved performance, enabling the firewalls to handle significantly larger amounts of data.

The goal of this project is to investigate if and how existing desktop computer firewall technology could be improved by replacing software functionality with hardware (i.e., silicon). A hardware-based Silicon Firewall system has been designed by choosing the appropriate architecture and implemented using Altera FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) on a SOPC (System On a Programmable Chip) Board. The performance of the Silicon Firewall is tested and compared with the software firewall.

Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Bolton, Ronald J.; Dinh, Anh van; Dodds, David E.; Takaya, Kunio

School:University of Saskatchewan

School Location:Canada - Saskatchewan

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:packet filtering cam firewall cs8900a


Date of Publication:12/18/2003

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