ComScire Random Generator
Product Selection Guide

FAQs


General Information


1.  Q. What is a Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG)?
A. Quantum random number generators produce random numbers by sampling quantum mechanical noise. For in-depth analysis see the Entropy Analysis and System Design for Quantum Random Number Generators in CMOS Integrated Circuits white paper.

2.  Q. What is the difference between true- and pseudorandom numbers?
A. True random numbers are generated from measurements of physical, inherently unpredictable (non-deterministic) sources such as thermal noise, nuclear decay or photon polarization. They cannot be reliably reproduced or predicted. Pseudorandom numbers are produced by mathematical equations or algorithms which yield sequences that appear to be random by various tests. Pseudorandom numbers are totally deterministic in nature and may be reproduced exactly, given knowledge of the generating function. These sequences contain no actual entropy.

3.  Q. Is the Model R2000KU or R32MU still available?
A. The Models R2000KU and R32MU were superceded by the QNG Model PQ4000KU or the QNG Model PQ32MU. For a limited time, small number of R2000KU may be available to previous customers for legacy purposes.

4.  Q. Are the  QNG Models PQ32MU and PQ4000KU backward compatible with the Models R2000KU, R32MU or J1000KU?
A. Client software developed for the Models R2000KU and R32MU will continue to work with PQ32MU and PQ4000KU hardware and software without modifications. However, the PQ32MU and PQ4000KU drivers are incompatible with J1000KU hardware as is. Please check the J1000KU downloads for possible upgrade solutions.

5.  Q. Why do I need a true random generator versus a pseudorandom generator?
A. Lotteries and other contests which include random drawings must inspire confidence they are entirely fair and not susceptible to tampering or cheating. Only true random generators, which are known to be theoretically unpredictable, provide this level of trust. Cryptography (or data security in general) is a field that relies on the certainty that random numbers they use for keys or seeds are absolutely unpredictable. Only true random number generators meet this critically important need. Random selection for drug or other individual testing is subject to legalities which may preclude the use of any deterministic, or pseudorandom generator.

6.  Q. Do you sell or provide analysis of gaming systems?
A. We do not offer or sell any gaming systems or software. We do not provide analysis of gaming systems and we do not guarantee functionality of any gaming systems that use our TRNGs.

7.  Q. Do you provide custom cryptographic software applications/support?
A. We don't provide any software that is directly intended for cryptographic applications. This avoids potential difficulties related to exportation of security-related products.

8.  Q. What kind of technical support is offered by the company?
A. Customer support includes ensuring proper functionality of the hardware and interface software. We do not write user-specific programs or application software. There is no additional charge for customer support.

 

Sales


1.  Q. How do I purchase a true random number generator?
A. Payment can be made by credit card on our secure order form on our website, or by wire (bank) transfer to our bank. Banking information will be supplied as needed. Terms for sales are always prepaid.

2.  Q. What credit cards do you accept?
A. We accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

3.  Q. My credit card was charged but I never received a PCQNG license. Why?
A. Usually your card was denied (no charge actually made) because the card processor couldn't match your billing address. The billing address should be just as it is printed on your statement. The license is emailed automatically when the processing is successfully completed and should arrive very quickly.

Please email or call us if you have any issues purchasing or receiving your license.

4.  Q. How much does the shipping cost?
A. Domestic (continental USA) ground shipping is included free. For international orders, shipping and handling is $95.00 for the first piece, $30.00 for each additional pieces.  Note, You will also have to pay VAT or other import duty at time of delivery.

5.  Q. What options are available for shipping?
A. All shipping is by UPS (United Parcel Service). Transit time is usually 3-4 days, depending on normal customs clearance. Shipment will be made within 1 business day of receipt of payment, but will usually ship the same day if received by 12 pm New York time.

6.  Q. Do you offer quantity discounts?
A. Normally the quantity discount starts at 5 pieces (5%) and is 10% for 10 or more.
Our discount schedule is:
1-4 Net
5-9 5%
10-24 10%
25-99 15%
100+ Contact Us

7.  Q. Are there any reseller discounts?
A. We offer a reseller discount of 5%. To qualify, a reseller must be purchasing our products for resale to an unrelated business.

8.  Q. Are there any authorized reseller/distributors of ComScire products?
A. We do not have any officially authorized dealers. ComScire products are sold directly through our secure online ordering system, by email or by phone [contact us page hyperlink].

9.  Q. What is the return policy for ComScire software licenses?
A. Software licenses are usually not refundable once purchased. ComScire strongly recommends testing any of its software products under a free temporary license prior to purchasing the full license. Please contact us with any questions.

10.  Q. What is the return policy for ComScire hardware random number generators?
A. A hardware generator may be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund (buyer pays for return shipping).

11.  Q. What is the warranty for hardware generators?
A. ComScire offers a 1-year limited warranty on its hardware generators. We will repair or replace (at our sole discretion) any hardware generator that fails due to defect in materials or manufacturing.

 

Technical


PCQNG


1.  Q. What is the PCQNG?
A. The ComScire PCQNG is a very low-cost true random number generator for non-critical applications. This patented technology is a software product that harvests randomness (entropy) from hardware already present in your PC to generate true random numbers.

2.  Q. How is it possible for a computer to generate non-deterministic or True random numbers?
A. The PCQNG uses a noise component (jitter – timing uncertainty) produced by Phased Locked Loop circuits in the PC. This jitter, caused by thermal and shot noise, is the source of true entropy which is extracted to produce a sequence of true random numbers. See Design Principles and Testing of the PCQNG 2.0 Device and Calculating Entropy Available to the PCQNG 2.0 for a detailed technical explanation.

3.  Q. How good are the random numbers produced by the PCQNG Device?
A. The PCQNG's output has been tested extensively by the most stringent tests available and it has not failed any test for randomness in tests utilizing up to 20 billion bits. See Design Principles and Testing of the PCQNG 2.0 Device for more information.

4.  Q. Can I use the PCQNG as a random event generator (REG) for micro-PK, DMMI or other parapsychological experiments?
A. Yes – The PCQNG, which is a true random number generator, will respond to operator intention like any other REG. It has been designed with a special REG mode for access to data that has been specifically processed for this purpose.

5.  Q. PCQNG Free-Trial doesn’t work. Why?
A. The program must be installed before it is run. If you have already installed it, you may test it by clicking on Start > Programs >ComScire > PCQNGx.x and then on one of the included demonstration programs, such as PCQNGPick, or the PCQNGmeter.

If this does not resolve the issue, please contact us and provide some information on your operating system and computer type and any symptoms you may observe when trying to install or run the program.

6.  Q. Unable to install PCQNG. The installer complains that I don’t have administrator privileges and exits, despite the fact that I do in fact have administrative privileges.
A. We assume you are running Vista (or later) since it's the only OS that seems to have this problem with version 2.0. You must disable the "User Account Control" in Vista. Instructions for doing this are at http://www.petri.co.il/disable_uac_in_windows_vista.htm

Please run the included randomness tester (PCQNGmeter) to ensure proper functioning.

7.  Q. I have used the PCQNGmeter to test the PCQNG. They have tested out at 20.9+ to 29.9+ on the sliding scale. What do you advise as being a good result/level on the test scale?
A. The number on the slider means the sequence is statistically random at least to 2 to the power on the slider. For example, 29.9+ means the sequence still looks good (statistically random with approximately 95% confidence level) at one billion bits. The slider will continue to rise for as long as you are willing to run the test, unless a failure is indicated (which was not the case). The general indication is that an attacker having a billion bit sequence from the PCQNG (or an encrypted sequence using the PCQNG output) would not be able to find any pattern. The PCQNG is adequate for most non-critical applications, but we recommend our hardware generators (Model PQ4000KU or PQ32MU) for critical applications.

8.  Q. Do you have a version or patch that is compatible with 64-bit Windows versions?
A. PCQNG 2.0.10 — the current version — is compatible with 32- or 64-bit versions of Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8.

9.  Q. In the application: PCQNGFile, there is a mode setting.  It does affect speed of generation of the numbers. Does it also affect the quality of the random numbers produced?
A. The mode setting, which sets the rate of output bit production, should not affect the statistical quality of the output bits. However, the PCQNG only harvests entropy at about 1-3 Kbps. That means for output rates higher than 1 Kbit per second the random bits are extended algorithmically resulting in output sequence with entropy less than 1 bit/output bit. Since the PCQNG is not recommended for critical applications, the reduction of true entropy in the extended output sequence should not have any detrimental affect on your application. If you are running a critical application, for example where money transactions are involved, we recommend our hardware generators, Model PQ4000KU or Model PQ32MU. These generators output 4 Mbps or 32 Mbps respectively with guaranteed entropy indistinguishable from 1.0 bit per output bit.

 

HARDWARE TRNG


1.  Q. A Sequence of numbers generated was not “random”. Why?
A. We are unable to determine whether the numbers presented in your program could have been due to a fault in the Model PQ4000KU/PQ32MU generator nor can we immediately confirm the numbers are not correct since we have no knowledge of the system you use to produce the numbers or what the expected outcome is. Please run the QNGmeter (included with the installation software) or some other recognized RNG testing suite to test the output of the generator directly to confirm if the problem is in the generation. We are happy to help in any way we can, but we need more information to evaluate what could be happening.
Our hardware generators include continuous monitoring of RNG statistics. If a fault is detected the generator is automatically disabled, requiring user action to resume.

2.  Q. Is the PQ4000KU capable of generating 5 numbers of 4 digits each, every 10 minutes for a lottery game?
A. We cannot provide user-specific programs for every type of drawing or game because there are so many variations and applications. The PQ4000KU and the PQ32MU generate true random numbers that can be used to implement any type of drawing or game. The documentation available on our website gives examples of how to read random numbers from the generator in various programming languages. We do not provide programs for gaming or instructions on how to set up a gaming system. We can give you some information on algorithms for performing random drawings if you have purchased one of our hardware generators, but you will have to consult a computer programmer to implement your gaming system.

3.  Q. What tests are available for the QNG true random number generators?
A. The QNGmeter uses a suite of fairly well-known tests, which are described widely in the literature. Each test has its own meta-test, which is a Chi-squared test of sub-blocks of data, or individual test results for the entropy and OQSO tests. The meta-tests are further subjected to a global meta-test,  which is a Kolmogorov-Smirnov test. This final test gives a single quality factor (actually two because there are both a + and a – output for the K-S test) to assess the sequence being tested. The slider and K-S tests are intended to provide an abstracted, simplified measure of the quality of a random generator without having to fully understand the subtleties of statistical measurement and randomness in general.

4.  Q. Do you have a Linux software version?
A. We have released a Linux version, LIBQWQNG version 1.3.5. The library has been tested on multiple Linux distributions such as openSUSE versions 11.4 / 12.1 (32-bit and 64-bit); Ubuntu 13.04 (32-bit and 64-bit); CentOS 4.9 / 5.7 (32-bit), Fedora 18 (32-bit), and Debian 7.1 (32-bit). In addition, LIBQWQNG was tested successfully on Raspberry Pi Raspbian dist.

5.  Q. Does the PQ4000KU register itself as a serial port? E.g. like a com-port? Or is a special dll required?
A. The PQ4000KU and PQ32MU connect via USB cable. All the necessary drivers and interface software (ActiveX dll) are included with the generator. If you like, you can download the Help file from our Downloads page.

6.  Q. Is there any API which is written in java for interacting with your device?
A. The entire software package for the Models PQ4000KU and PQ32MU (including documentation) is available on our Downloads page. We use ActiveX to interface with this generator so any programming language that is compatible with ActiveX can be used to interface with user programs. There are many examples in several programming languages for reading random numbers from the generator. However, no java examples are included, but your programmer should be able to translate from the other simple examples.

7.  Q. Can multiple TRNGs be installed on the same computer? Alternatively, can a single TRNG receive calls from multiple software at the same time?
A. Multiple PQ4000KU generators can be run at the same time on a single computer running Windows. Each new application will find the next available generator using the PQ4000KU serial numbers in increasing order. Multiple applications can call a single PQ4000KU on the same computer, although the total available bit rate will still be 4 Mbps.

These comments also apply to the Model PQ32MU, 32 Mbps generator.

8.  Q. You claim your hardware random number generator speed is 4,000,000 bit per second. I want to know is that work practically. In other words, is that feasible in practice (including all aspects such as hardware, interface…)?
A. The PQ4000KU generator produces and sends 4 Mbps to the USB interface. On some slower computers the USB interface may drop up to 0.5% of these bits, but usually 99.75-100% of the bits are available for use by your program.

9.  Q. We are testing your PCQNG 2.0 software using the active X control.
Is the AX control for the PQ4000KU functionally identical?
A. The software for the PQ4000KU was written more recently and it has more functionality than the PCQNG so it is similar but not identical. You can download the PQ4000KU documentation from our Downloads page. If you are already using the PCQNG, you will likely not have a problem with the PQ4000KU interface.

10.  Q. Is it practical to build our first system prototype with the PCQNG and later upgrade to the PQ4000KU? 
A. The two generators have similar interfaces, but the PQ4000KU has additional features plus the much higher speed. I would recommend going directly to the final generator if your budget will support it. This will reduce overall development time and usually save money in the long run if you have ongoing overhead costs. If you are just starting out and are working on a shoestring, use the PCQNG.

11.  Q. Is the PCQNG 2.0 License required to use the PQ4000KU hardware?
A. The PCQNG is a separate product and its license is not required for the Model PQ4000KU hardware generator.

12.  Q. Is my software prevented from using random numbers cached in a buffer when the TRNG is unplugged?
A. When the PQ4000KU is unplugged, an error is thrown as soon as Windows notices (i.e., as quickly as possible under a Window OS) and further output is immediately halted. The typical amount of time it takes Windows to respond is between 8 and several hundred milliseconds, depending on internal functioning of the OS. The PQ4000KU is a substantial upgrade with respect to ensuring data integrity.

13.  Q. Do you have a Mac software version?
A. We have released a Mac version, LIBQWQNG version 1.3.5. The library was precompiled for OS X 10.8 (Mountain Lion). In order to use in previous OS X releases, the libraries will have to be recompiled. Source code is provided in the installation package.

 

Certification


1.  Q. Do you have any independent certificates or test results?
A. There is no standard (or certification) for stand-alone non-deterministic (hardware or "true") random number generators in the USA.  Normally certifications are given for a system including an RNG used for a specific purpose such as online gaming. It is the responsibility of the user of the nondeterministic generator to obtain this type of certification as each one is different and only the user has control of their own software. The companies that obtain these certifications and the testing companies that grant them do not, and will not, share copies of the certificates, either for security reasons, copyright or because the testing firms charge money to provide the certifications. ComScire's QNG devices used in customers' applications have been certified several times by well-known testing laboratories throughout the world.

ComScire QNG devices are guaranteed to pass any properly designed test for randomness. Four selected Model PQ4000KU generators have been directly tested to more than 1 terabit of continuous output data without any indication of statistical defect, and the Model PQ32MU was cumulatively tested to more than 20 terabits – likely the longest sequence of directly-tested true random generator output bits in the world. All generators are tested to at least 100 Gbits at the time of manufacture as part of our QA program. Our testing procedures are more stringent than any other manufacturers’. We have been selling online, world-wide for 18 years – the longest of any hardware RNG company, and we hold 5 issued patents (others pending) covering the technology.

2.  Q. Does your Hardware TRNG pass the FIPS standard?
A. There is no FIPS approved non-deterministic (true) random number generator. The purpose of FIPS 140-2 is to coordinate the requirements and standards for cryptography modules that include both hardware and software components. As such a stand-alone generator, such as our PQ4000KU true random number generator, does not fall within the FIPS specified standards. Therefore, no FIPS "approval" would be available.

3.  Q. Does PCQNG comply with FIPS 140-2 standard, section 4.7.1?
A. There is currently no standard in the US for non-deterministic RNG's.