Rainbow Technologies Inc. said Datek Online, one of the top Internet brokerage firms, has installed the Cryptoswift hardware security system to boost the performance of its server computers.

Cryptoswift is a hardware device that accelerates the cryptographic operations on which Datek depends for information security. Without acceleration, transaction speeds could bog down at high volumes.

On-line brokerage has become a competitive area for cryptographic acceleration vendors. Rainbow recently announced the sale of its Cryptoswift II to E-Trade Group, and nCipher Inc. of Woburn, Mass., provided its nFast 150 to DLJdirect.

"On-line brokerage is all about getting encrypted Web pages out faster," said Peter Stern, chief technology officer of Datek Online. "With Cryptoswift, we can encrypt more pages faster. This means better service for our customers."

A Cryptoswift computer interface card can handle up to 200 transactions per second and perform a standard RSA digital signature operation-a performance benchmark-in under 5 milliseconds. In comparison, a Pentium III processor at 500 megahertz takes 15 milliseconds.

CryptoSwift said it improves real-world server response time by up to 90% by off-loading cryptography on to its hardware.

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