# What is the difference between order of base point and curve order in EC? [duplicate]

When I was read about the elliptic curve cryptography I found some definition about domain parameter of elliptic curve like the follow. But I did not understand something

$$p$$: prime number. $$a, b$$: field elements, they specify the equation of the elliptic curve $$E$$ over $$F_P$$,

$$y^2 ≡ x^3+a • x+b$$

$$G$$: A base point represented by $$G= (xg, yg)$$ on $$E (F_P)$$

$$n$$: Order of point $$G$$ , that is $$n$$ is the smallest positive integer such that $$nG = O$$.

$$h$$: cofactor, and is equal to the ratio #E($$F_P$$)/$$n$$, where #E($$F_P$$) is the curve order.

My question

What's diffrence between $$n$$ & #E($$F_P$$)? also

I think two are same value. because #E($$F_P$$) is Curve Order where The number of points on the elliptic curve is called its curve order. and when we do #E * $$G$$ = $$O$$.

Is this right or not right?

The difference is that $n$ is the smallest positive integer where $nG = O$; while you correctly state that $\#E \cdot G = O$, that doesn't mean that $\#E$ is the smallest integer that makes this happen. There may be a smaller integer $n$; $n$ will always be a factor of $\#E$, however it can be smaller.
As for why we would want to make it smaller, that is, why would we want to have an $h = \#E/n > 1$, well, that's exactly what this question addresses.
• @Mhsz: close; it turns out that finite Elliptic Curves need not be cyclic; for example, they can have $Z_2 \times Z_2$ as a subgroup; however that turns out to be cryptographically unimportant, and everything else you said is correct. – poncho Nov 20 '14 at 18:50