FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

General Questions

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.

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. For more information on random numbers see the Random Numbers Simplified page.

Our new QRNG Model PQ4000KS is a miniaturized version of PQ4000KU. Model PQ4000KS is functionally identical to PQ4000KU, and they will be compatible with your present PQ4000KU application software. For a limited time, small number of PQ4000KU may be available to previous customers for legacy purposes.

The Models R2000KU and R32MU were superceded by the QNG Models PQ4000KS/PQ4000KU or the QNG Model PQ32MU/PQ128MU.

Client software developed for the Models PQ4000KU, R2000KU and R32MU will continue to work with PQ128MU, PQ32MU and PQ4000KS hardware and software without modifications. However, the PQ128MU, PQ32MU and PQ4000KS drivers are incompatible with J1000KU hardware as is. Please check the J1000KU downloads for possible upgrade solutions.

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. For more information on random numbers see the Random Numbers Simplified page.

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.

We don't provide any software that is directly intended for cryptographic applications. This avoids potential difficulties related to exportation of security-related products.

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

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.

We accept VISA, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover.

Domestic (continental USA) ground shipping is included free. For international orders, shipping and handling is $110.00 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.

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.

The quantity discount for credit card purchases 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

Please contact us for quantity discount rates if paying by bank wire transfer. Banking information will be supplied as needed.

We offer a reseller discount of 5%. To qualify, a reseller must be purchasing our products for resale to an unrelated business.

We do not have any officially authorized dealers. ComScire products are sold directly through our secure online ordering system, by email or by phone.

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.

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.

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.


Hardware TRNG

We are unable to determine whether the numbers presented in your program could have been due to a fault in the Model PQ4000KS/PQ32MU/PQ128MU 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.

We cannot provide user-specific programs for every type of drawing or game because there are so many variations and applications. The PQ4000KS, PQ128MU 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.

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.

The PQ4000KS, PQ128MU 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.

The entire software package for the Models PQ4000KS, PQ128MU 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.

Multiple PQ4000KS 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 PQ4000KS serial numbers in increasing order. Multiple applications can call a single PQ4000KS on the same computer, although the total available bit rate will still be 4 Mbps.

The PQ4000KS 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.

The software for the PQ4000KS was written more recently and it has more functionality than the PCQNG so it is similar but not identical. You can download the PQ4000KS documentation from our Downloads page. If you are already using the PCQNG, you will likely not have a problem with the PQ4000KS interface.

The two generators have similar interfaces, but the PQ4000KS 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.

The PCQNG is a separate product and its license is not required for the Model PQ4000KS hardware generator.

When the PQ4000KS 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 PQ4000KS is a substantial upgrade with respect to ensuring data integrity.


Technical - PCQNG

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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 PQ4000KS, PQ128MU or PQ32MU) for critical applications.

PCQNG 2.0.10 — the current version — is compatible with 32- or 64-bit versions of Windows XP SP3/Vista/7/8.

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 PQ4000KS, PQ128MU or Model PQ32MU. These generators output 4 Mbps, 128 Mbps or 32 Mbps respectively with guaranteed entropy indistinguishable from 1.0 bit per output bit.


Certification

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 PQ4000KS generators have been directly tested to more than 1 terabit of continuous output data without any indication of statistical defect, the Model PQ32MU was cumulatively tested to more than 20 terabits, and the Model PQ128MU was cumulatively tested to more than 300 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 20 years – the longest of any hardware RNG company, and we hold 5 issued patents (others pending) covering the technology.

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 PQ4000KS true random number generator, does not fall within the FIPS specified standards. Therefore, no FIPS "approval" would be available.

There is currently no standard in the US for non-deterministic RNG's.