Research on quantum communications using a chain of synchronously moving satellites without repeaters

Academic and industry researchers are increasingly eyeing the prospect of global communications networks that would take advantage of quantum technology. Long-distance quantum communication can be achieved by directly sending light through space using a train of orbiting satellites that function as optical lenses without using repeaters.

Some research groups are looking at satellite-based quantum communications, in which quantum information would ride on laser beams between spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO). However, the loss of photons in diffracting laser beams, as well as the curvature of the Earth itself, would likely limit realistic distances of high-efficiency quantum links between LEO satellites to less than 2000 km.

Image Credit: S. Goswami/University of Calgary

Recently, researchers Sumit Goswami of the University of Calgary, Canada, and Sayandip Dhara of the University of Central Florida, US, have laid out a proposal showing how those pitfalls could be overcome (Phys. Rev. Appl., doi: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.20.024048). Their proposal involves relaying delicate quantum signals across a chain of relatively closely spaced, synchronously moving satellites. Those satellites, the pair suggests, could effectively act “like a set of lenses on an optical table,” focusing and bending beams along Earth’s curvature and preventing photon loss across distances as great as 20,000 km—without the need for quantum repeaters. Goswami said  that a chain of around 160 satellites would be needed to cover the full 20,000-km distance modeled in the paper. Such a single, geostationary chain, he noted, would cover most of the globe every three days as the Earth rotated beneath the satellite array—so, Goswami said, “even just one chain can be used for connecting many places at different times.” But a larger, 2D network, to enable uninterrupted worldwide quantum communications, would require tens of thousands of new satellites.

While Goswami and Dhara metaphorically refer to the nodes in their proposed all-satellite quantum network (ASQN) as satellite lenses, in reality the optical magic happens with mirrors, to keep absorption-related photon losses to an absolute minimum. In simplified terms, a given satellite in the chain sends a beam of light to the next one, perhaps 120 km away. That next satellite captures and refocuses the beam with a receiving mirror and bounces it off of two smaller mirrors to a final transmitting mirror, which relays the signal on to the next satellite in the chain.

In their modeling, Goswami and Dhara considered a chain of satellites, each separated from the next by 120 km; given expected beam divergence in Earth orbit, that implies a telescope diameter of 60 cm for each satellite. The team’s modeling suggests that such a relay setup, using vortex beams to pass the quantum signal from satellite to satellite, would virtually eliminate diffraction loss across distances of 20,000 km.

With diffraction loss taken care of, Goswami and Dhara methodically looked at other potential sources of loss in the satellite-lens system. One obvious one is reflection loss of some photons at the mirrors themselves, which the pair thinks could be kept manageable through a configuration combining large metal mirrors and small, ultrahigh-reflectivity Bragg mirrors. Another source of loss lies in tracking and positioning errors for the satellites in the chain; such hiccups would need to be held to a minimum to keep the satellites in sync with one another.

A final source of loss has nothing to do with the satellites. Depending on the quantum communication architecture, quantum information needs to be transmitted from and to stations on Earth’s surface. For free-space optical signals, that opens the prospect of data losses due to atmospheric turbulence, which can dramatically increase the beam size and spread.  Turbulence turns out to be a much bigger problem for data in the uplink (ground to satellite) than in the downlink (satellite to ground). That’s because in the uplink, the turbulence is doing its dirty work at the beginning of the communication chain rather than at its end; thus the turbulence-induced beam divergence and fragmentation is magnified across the large propagation distance of the satellite network as a whole.

Outperforming fiber—without repeaters:


Image Credit: S. Goswami and S. Dhara, Phys. Rev. Appl. 20, 024048 (2023), doi: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.20.024048; copyright 2023 by the American Physical Society [Enlarge image]

For their proposed all-satellite quantum network (ASQN), Goswami and Dhara modeled two different quantum communication schemes. In one, qubit transmission (top), photons are transmitted from a ground-based source to a first satellite, relayed through space along a chain of reflector satellites, and beamed to another ground station, with beam diffraction controlled by focusing. In the other, entanglement distribution, an entanglement source is located either in a satellite (S1) or on the ground (S2), and entangled photons are distributed to widely separated ground stations, where they’re tested for quantum-secure communication.

Taking all of these sources of loss (and a few others) into account, Goswami and Dhara numerically simulated how such a chain of relay satellite lenses might work in transmitting quantum information under two scenarios. One is so-called entanglement distribution, the protocol demonstrated by researchers in China on the Micius satellite, in which photons are entangled in space and sent in different directions via the satellite lenses, ultimately to be transmitted down to widely separated stations on Earth and tested for quantum security.

The other is a simpler “qubit transmission” protocol, in which quantum bits (qubits) are simply sent from a ground station to the first satellite, transmitted across the chain and finally beamed down to a second, distant ground station. Such a system would require a different kind of optical design, to counteract the impact of turbulence on the satellite uplink. Goswami and Dhara think this approach may have certain advantages, however, as it keeps both the qubit source and detection in more controllable, better-outfitted ground stations.

Under both scenarios, the team found that the total signal loss across 20,000 km would come in at around 30 dB. That’s comparable to the loss experienced across only 200 km of a direct optical-fiber link (assuming a loss rate of 0.15 dB/km in the fiber). “Such a low-loss satellite-based optical-relay protocol,” Goswami and Dhara write, “would enable robust, multimode global quantum communication and would not require either quantum memories or repeater protocol.”

“What this proposal basically does,” Goswami observed in an email to OPN, “is that it shifts the task of creating quantum network from physics to engineering.” He added, however, that some of the engineering likely wouldn’t be trivial, particularly with respect to designing and developing the satellites in the fleet. Still, he and Dhara stress in the paper that recent developments in space technology—embodied in reusable launch vehicles from organizations such as SpaceX and the vast constellations of classical-communications satellites being lofted into LEO by a number of private companies—make a system such as their ASQN considerably more feasible than it would have been in the past.  Goswami and Dhara stress that recent developments in space technology make a system such as their ASQN considerably more feasible than it would have been in the past.

Goswami and Dhara believe that, by dispensing with the need for quantum repeaters or memory, the scheme they’ve proposed and modeled could open a range of possibilities implicit in a quantum network. Such prospects include secure communication via quantum key distribution, the linking of quantum computers, and precision long-distance quantum sensing.

The researchers admit, however, that a more complex network—that is, the long-term vision of a “quantum internet” now being fleshed out in a variety of research labs—would still require some sort of quantum memory to ensure completely lossless transmission.

This research could pave the way for the development of globally secure quantum communications networks, as the use of satellites would provide a high level of security against hacking and eavesdropping. The proposed system still needs further development and testing, but it presents a promising solution for enabling long-distance quantum communication without the need for repeaters.



New Proposal for a Global Quantum Communications Network


China Mobile verifies optimized 5G algorithm based on universal quantum computer

China has achieved the country’s first algorithm verification of a communication network optimization based on a universal quantum computer, according to the Quantum Computing Engineering Research Center in east China’s Anhui Province.

China Mobile, the country’s largest mobile carrier, is currently in the stage of 5G network operation and 6G research and development. Compared with 5G, 6G will face computing problems such as larger-scale business optimization, network optimization, signal processing and machine learning, bringing about great pressure to the classical computation and algorithms, said Cui Chunfeng, an official from the China Mobile Research Institution (CMRI).

The tremendous computing power is the main characteristic of quantum computers. “We try to start from small-scale problems in some typical scenarios to evaluate and verify the application feasibility of quantum computing in communication networks, especially in 6G,” Cui said.

The CMRI and the Origin Quantum Computing Technology Corporation signed a cooperation memorandum on June 30 to jointly promote the integration of quantum computing into the communication network and arithmetic network as the core of the mobile information network.

Aiming at the optimization of large-scale antenna parameters of 5G base stations, the Origin Quantum has preliminarily proved the feasibility of quantum algorithm in the specific problem through effective modeling, algorithm design and real-machine verification, said Dou Manghan, director of the software center of the Origin Quantum.

He noted that the company has the country’s first case of using quantum computers with real machines for communication network algorithm verification, achieving a good start for the application of quantum computing.

A quantum computer in China Photo: VCG

In the future, China Mobile will design quantum algorithms with better performance, boost the integrated development of quantum computing and communication industry, and explore a leapfrog path for the development of mobile information networks, Cui said.

Source(s): Xinhua News Agency


SKT Develops Technology for Integration of Heterogeneous Quantum Cryptography Communication Networks

SK Telecom (SKT) today announced that for the first time in the world, it developed a technology that allows for integrated control and operation of quantum cryptography networks by integrating networks composed of equipment from different manufacturers via software-defined networking (SDN) and distributing quantum keys in an automated manner.

So far it was impossible to connect and operate quantum cryptography communication networks of different companies and countries. However, with SKT‘s new technology, quantum cryptography communication networks of diverse manufacturers, mobile operators and nations can be interconnected and co-operated.

The company said that it completed verification of the technology on the Korea Advanced Research Network (KOREN), a non-profit testbed network infrastructure operated by the National Information Society Agency (NIA) to facilitate research, test and verification of future network leading technologies and related equipment.

Based on the results of development and verification of the technology, SKT has been actively promoting standardization by sharing the case with global telcos.

To set international standards for the integration of quantum cryptography communication networks, SKT proposed two standardization tasks – i.e. ‘Control Interface of Software Defined Networks’ and ‘Orchestration Interface of Software Defined Networks for Interoperable Key Management System’ – to the European Telecommunications Standards Institute (ETSI), and they were chosen as work items by the ETSI industry specification group for QKD (ISG-QKD) in March 2023.

If approved as international standards, they will provide a technical basis for creating a large-scale network by interconnecting quantum cryptography communication networks built by many different operators. SKT plans to continue developing additional technologies for interworking of services between different operators/countries, as well as management of service quality.

Through these efforts, the company expects to strengthen the competitiveness of domestic companies and boost the quantum cryptography ecosystem both home and abroad.

Meanwhile, at this year’s IOWN Global Forum Workshop, SKT presented ‘Quantum Secure Interconnection for Critical Infrastructure,’ covering use cases for next-generation transmission encryption technology and proposal for a proof-of-concept (PoC) of quantum cryptography in All-Photonics Network (APN). The company also showcased its quantum cryptography communication technologies at 2023 MWC Barcelona.

“The two standardization tasks approved as work items by ETSI will boost the expansion of quantum cryptography communication in the global market,” said Ha Min-yong, Chief Development Officer of SKT. “We will work with diverse global players in many different areas to create new business opportunities in the global market.”


SK Telecom Co. Ltd. published this content on 05 April 2023 and is solely responsible for the information contained therein.


From SDxCentral:

Quantum cryptography communication transmits each bit of information as a single photon of light, which encrypts that information against eavesdropping or decryption. Telecom operators and vendors have been working for several years on integrating that level of encryption into networks.

For instance, Toshiba and the Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization at Tohoku University used quantum technology in 2018 to hit one-month-average key distribution speeds exceeding 10 Mb/s over installed optical fiber lines. They also used the technology to monitor the performance of installed optical fiber lines in different environments.

Toshiba later partnered with U.K.-based operator BT on using QKD across to secure a network transmission.

SK Telecom also has a long quantum history, including work with Swiss-based strategic partner ID Quantique, which focuses on quantum cryptography communication technology.

Industry trade group GSMA last year announced its Post-Quantum Telco Network Taskforce focused on supporting the industry’s creation of a roadmap to secure networks, devices and systems across the entire supply chain.” That work was initiated with IBM and Vodafone, and has since gained more than 45 members.

Lory Thorpe, GSMA Post-Quantum Telco Networks chairperson and head of IBM Consulting’s Telco Transformation Offerings, told SDxCentral last month that the core objective of the taskforce is to ensure the implementation of the right requirements and standards in a timely manner to avoid being “late to the party.” Thorpe explained the initial problem statement was “around how do we support the telco ecosystem to navigate the path to quantum safe.”

“When you look at where cryptography is used in telco systems, it impacts basically all of the different systems. But it also then impacts all of the standards that underpin these systems as well,” she said. “We’re advocating that people start planning, not panicking, but at least planning because … this isn’t something that just happens overnight.”


Can Quantum Technologies Crack RSA Encryption as China Researchers Claim?

Scientists in China claim they have found a way for current-generation quantum computers to crack the RSA algorithm underlying the most common form of online encryption. The researchers said the encryption could be broken with a 372-quantum-bit (qubit) system using hybrid quantum-classical methods to overcome scaling limitations. The Chinese paper “Factoring integers with sublinear resources on a superconducting quantum processor” stated that the algorithm used factored a number with 48 bits on a quantum system with 10 qubits.

The likelihood that quantum computers would be able to crack online encryption was widely believed a danger that could lie a decade or more in the future. But the 24 researchers, from a number of China’s top universities and government-backed laboratories, said their research showed it could be possible using quantum technology that is already available. The quantum bits, or qubits, used in today’s machines are highly unstable and only hold their quantum states for extremely short periods, creating “noise.”

As a result, “errors accumulate in the computer and after around 100 operations there are so many errors the computation fails,” said Steve Brierley, chief executive of quantum software company Riverlane. That has led to a search for more stable qubits as well as error-correction techniques to overcome the “noise,” pushing back the date when quantum computers are likely to reach their full potential by many years. The Chinese claim, by contrast, appeared to be an endorsement of today’s “noisy” systems, while also prompting a flurry of concern in the cyber security world over a potentially imminent threat to online security.

By late last week, a number of researchers at the intersection of advanced mathematics and quantum mechanics had thrown cold water on the Chinese claim:

  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Peter Shor pointed out that the team had “failed to address how fast the algorithm will run,” as it could “still take millions of years.”   Shor, the American mathematician who first proposed a way for quantum computers to crack encryption, predicted that the inability to run all the computations at once meant it would take “millions of years” for a quantum computer to run the calculation proposed in the paper. The Chinese research comes at a time when many companies working on the technology are in a race to prove that today’s “noisy” systems can reach so-called quantum advantage — the point at which a quantum computer can perform a useful task more efficiently than a traditional, or “classical”, machine, ushering in commercial use of the technology.
  • Brierley at Riverlane said it “can’t possibly work” because the Chinese researchers had assumed that a quantum computer would be able to simply run a vast number of computations simultaneously, rather than trying to gain an advantage through applying the system’s quantum properties.
  • Four years ago, John Preskill, a professor of theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology, predicted that quantum systems would start to outperform and might have commercial uses once they reached 50-100 qubits in size. But that moment has come and gone without quantum systems showing any clear superiority. IBM unveiled a 127-qubit computer more than a year ago, and last month announced that a new 433-qubit processor would be available in the first quarter of 2023. These days, Preskill sounds more cautious. “I expect that for practical applications with significant business value we’ll have to wait for error-corrected fault-tolerant quantum computers,” he said, adding that this was likely to be “a ways off.” But he added that today’s systems already had scientific value. One reason that hopes have retreated is that new ways have been found to program classical computers to handle tasks that were once thought to be beyond them.

This has pushed back the quantum frontier, delaying the moment when people building quantum systems can claim an advantage, said Oskar Painter, head of quantum hardware in the cloud computing division at Amazon, one of the tech companies that is building its own quantum computer. “They never finally could say, ‘This will be better,’” he said. After years of rising expectations, the lack of practical uses for the technology has led some experts to warn of a potential “quantum winter” — a period when disappointment about a new technology leads to a waning of interest for a number of years. The term is borrowed from the AI “winters” of the 1970s and 1980s, when a number of promising research avenues turned out to be dead ends, setting the field back for prolonged periods.

“People are worried it will be really harsh,” said Painter at Amazon Web Services. Like many in the field, though, he said that any short-term backlash was unlikely to hit long-term research funding. “I don’t think it will go away.” Receding hopes for early benefits from quantum computing have already contributed to a sharp fall in the stocks of a handful of companies that rode the wave of enthusiasm over the sector to go public since the middle of 2021. Based on their peak share prices soon after they each went public, Arquit, IonQ, D-Wave and Rigetti reached a combined value of $12.5bn. That has since fallen to $1.4bn.

Among the events to batter the quantum companies last year, IonQ was hit by a report from a short seller claiming its technology did not live up to its claims, while Rigetti founder Chad Rigetti was removed as chief executive before quitting the company late in the year.

Part of the problem facing the sector has been an excess of “hype” about the technology, said Constantin Gonciulea, chief technology officer of advanced technology at Wells Fargo. He compared the build-up of expectations around quantum to the crypto industry, as many non-experts have been drawn into the field and promises for the technology have far outgrown its potential in the near term. Despite this, companies working on the first quantum machines and software still insist that practical uses of the technology are just around the corner — while continuing to carefully avoid giving too precise a prediction about exactly when that will be.

David Rivas, head of engineering and product at Rigetti, said that the company still believed it would reach quantum advantage when its computers have “a few hundred to a few thousand qubits.” Even if they cannot match the performance of today’s supercomputers, they will still be useful if they cost much less, or if they can operate faster or with more precision, he said. For some quantum companies, the startling Chinese claim about online encryption was a sign that the technology’s big moment is drawing nearer. But for the doubters, the apparent impracticality of the research will serve as confirmation that quantum computing is still an impressive science experiment rather than a practical technology.


Quantum Technologies Update: U.S. vs China now and in the future

AT&T will be “quantum ready” by the year 2025; New fiber network launched in Indiana

New ITU-T SG13 Recommendations related to IMT 2020 and Quantum Key Distribution


AT&T will be “quantum ready” by the year 2025; New fiber network launched in Indiana

AT&T is aiming to become “quantum ready” by the year 2025, said an AT&T quantum security and preparedness team member during this week’s AT&T Security Conference. The tier-one operator has been identifying its cryptographic assets, vetting post-quantum cryptography solutions, and taking trials to identify those solutions, according to Brian Miles, principal member of tech staff at AT&T. “We’ve got AT&T quantum ready on our roadmap by 2025,” Miles said, adding that  doesn’t mean the company will be fully quantum secured.

“This just means that we have done all our due diligence.  And we have a clear path forward and we have all the solutions identified to target and address some of the different problems posed by quantum computing.”

Editor’s Note:

Quantum technologies function by harnessing the key characteristics of the theory of quantum mechanics, including superposition, entanglement and uncertainty. The resulting technologies are expected to be diverse and far reaching. For example, quantum computers are expected to overcome most “public key encryption” systems, presaging a radical change in cybersecurity. Given its aptitude for navigating complexity, quantum tools are expected to shave years off the time to market for medicines. Secure, efficient communications among drones and other autonomous vehicles will underpin safety and operational effectiveness in the crowded skies of the future. Of course, these nearer terms examples will be joined by applications barely yet imagined as the technology matures.


That effort should put AT&T in a better position before the cryptographically relevant quantum computer (CRQC) emerges. CRQC is defined as a quantum computer that reaches the compute capability to break an RSA-2048 key using Shor’s algorithm, according to Miles. Shor’s algorithm is a quantum computer algorithm developed in 1994 by American mathematician Peter Shor.

Miles also urges organizations to implement cryptography agility, which is a framework or architecture that allows companies to replace their cryptographic primitives, underlying cryptography, and encryption algorithms with little or no impact on the existing applications. 

“In a nutshell, that means you get off board your cryptography, get it out of your applications, get it more centralized, ultimately put automation in place to make the underlying infrastructure [transition] relatively painless,” he explained. 

The next significant step is to identify the cryptographic assets and who has the responsibility for that inventory within the company, Miles noted.

“It’s incredibly important to get started on a crypto-agile architecture roadmap within your company quickly,” he said. “The whole crypto-agile architecture at least gives you the tools and the ability to pivot to different cryptography on short notice.”


Separately, AT&T is connecting its first customers to its new fiber network in Indiana. The company is investing $29.7 million – on top of $9.9 million contributed by Vanderburgh County, allocated from the American Rescue Plan – to build to 20,000 locations.

In a press release, AT&T calls Vanderburgh a “largely rural community where roughly one-third of homes, farms and businesses did not have access to fixed broadband service before this fiber build.” The network build is expected to be complete in November 2023 and will deliver service up to 5 Gbit/sec.

“We have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to bring high-speed, reliable broadband to communities across the country,” said AT&T CEO John Stankey. “Combining public sector funding and private sector investment is the most cost-effective way to ensure more Americans are able to take advantage of robust connectivity. This type of public-private partnership can serve as a model to help close the digital divide once and for all.”

“If you live in a big city, you probably take your high-speed internet for granted. But it’s a different story in rural parts of the country,” said Cheryl Musgrave, commissioner, Vanderburgh County. “Fortunately, through this collaboration with AT&T, thousands of our rural neighbors will have a new story to tell, because they’ll also have access to fiber-powered broadband.

“I’m truly excited to see the impact this new connectivity will have on our schools and families, and the economic growth of our community,” Musgrave added.

AT&T worked quickly to bring the benefits of fiber to Vanderburgh County residents and businesses, with the network core becoming operational only seven months after the previously announced contract agreement was finalized. That allowed AT&T to connect the first fiber locations earlier than expected. The project will be completed by November 2023.

The new fiber network is capable of delivering speeds up to 5 Gbps on both upload and download. The faster speeds and capacity mean customers can now connect to data intensive online tools and applications, deploy precision agriculture technologies and access vital education resources.

AT&T has extensive experience deploying fiber-optics across Indiana. In fact, hundreds of thousands of locations in the state have access to AT&T Fiber today. AT&T is also currently working with the City of Boonville and the City of Martinsville on public-private partnerships to bring  AT&T Fiber to those communities.



BT and Toshiba commercial trial of a ‘quantum-secured’ metro network

BT and Toshiba have launched what they say is the world’s first “commercial trial” of a quantum-secured metro network (QSMN).

The QSMN infrastructure will be able to connect numerous customers across London, helping them to secure the transmission of valuable data and information between multiple physical locations over standard fiber optic links using quantum key distribution (QKD).

QKD is an important technology, playing a fundamental role in protecting networks and data against the emerging threat of cyber-attack using quantum computing. The London network represents a critical step towards reaching the UK government’s strategy to become a quantum-enabled economy

The QSMN is a three-node London exchange fiber optic ring using commercially available QKD hardware from Toshiba. BT provided fiber connectivity and “quantum-enabled” local exchanges.

Source: BT

German based optical network vendor ADVA is also involved in the QSMN. For the dedicated QKD “access tails,” BT used a commercially available Optical Spectrum Access Filter Connect (OSA FC) solution from Openreach, the UK incumbent’s infrastructure arm. OSA FC was developed by ADVA.

Financial services firm EY, the network’s first commercial customer,  will use the network to connect two of its sites in London, one in Canary Wharf, and one near London Bridge. It will demonstrate how data secured using QKD can move between sites and will showcase the benefits this network brings to its own customers.

BT is working with EY (a non paying customer) and others that want to try QSMN to work out which types of QKD services will be in demand and how the business case might pan out.  That initiative will likely be done over a three-year period,

“It’s a commercial trial in the sense that it’s built on commercial kit,” Professor Tim Whitley, managing director at BT’s applied research division, told Light Reading.

“It’s also a commercial trial in the sense that, unlike many trials around, it is effectively integrated in and part of a national operator’s communications infrastructure. It is managed out of our national operations center at Adastral Park.”

BT and Toshiba announced their commitment to creating a trial network in October 2021. BT will operate the network, providing a range of quantum-secured services including dedicated high bandwidth end-to-end encrypted links, delivered over Openreach’s private fibre networks, while Toshiba will provide quantum key distribution hardware and key management software. In the network, QKD keys will be combined with the in-built ethernet security, based on public-key based encryption, which will enable the resultant keys to be used to encrypt the data.

Some recent QKD history:


Howard Watson, CTO, BT stated: “Quantum-enabled technologies are expected to have a profound impact on how society and business operates in the future, but they are remarkably complex to understand, develop and build: in particular, ensuring that the end-to-end service designs meet the stringent security requirements of the market. I’m incredibly proud that BT and Toshiba have successfully united to deliver this unique network, and with EY as our first trial customer, we are paving the way for further commercial explorations for quantum technologies and their use in commercial, and societal applications in the future.”

Shunsuke Okada, Corporate Senior Vice President and Chief Digital Officer of Toshiba commented: “Both Toshiba and BT have demonstrated world-class technology development and leadership through decades of innovation and operation. Combining BT’s leadership in networks technologies and Toshiba’s leadership in quantum technologies has brought this network to life, allowing businesses across London to benefit from quantum secured communications for the first time.”

Preparation, technical deployment and testing for the network commenced in late 2021. This included equipment deployment in racks, adding security systems and resilience testing, and finally running and optimising the network. While Tuesday 26th April marked the official launch of the network, it has been running since early April, and will operate for an initial period of up to three years.

Praveen Shankar, EY UK & Ireland Managing Partner for Technology, Media and Telecoms (TMT), commented: “Quantum technology creates new and significant opportunities for business, but presents potential risks. Quantum secure data transmission represents the next major leap forward in protecting data, an essential component of doing business in a digital economy. Our work with two of the world’s leading technology innovators will allow us to demonstrate the power of quantum to both EY and our clients.”


The UK Government’s “strategic intent” to develop a quantum-enabled economy was first published in 2020. It sets out a vision for the next 10 years in which quantum technologies will become an integral part of the UK’s digital backbone, unlock innovation to drive growth and help build a thriving and resilient economy, and contribute significant value to the UK’s prosperity and security.

The London network represents an important step to building a national network for quantum secured communications, which will stimulate the growth of a quantum ready economy in the UK.

Howard Watson continued: “This is a significant moment in the UK’s journey towards a quantum-enabled economy, but we’re not there yet. Further investment commitments will be required to broaden the study of quantum technologies that will contribute to this new economy, including quantum computing, quantum cryptography and quantum communications. We look forward to working with our government and industry partners to continue the momentum BT has started and shaping the UK’s quantum strategy.”

The technical collaboration for this network was conducted in BT’s Adastral Park labs in Suffolk, UK, and the Quantum technology Business Division of Toshiba, based in Tokyo, Japan and Cambridge, UK, where the quantum key distribution technology has been developed and is manufactured.



Verizon Trials Quantum Key Distribution for Encryption over Fiber Optic Links

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Deutsche Telekom’s T-Labs enters research partnership to progress quantum technologies

Deutsche Telekom said it is taking part in the Platform and Ecosystem for Quantum-Assisted Artificial Intelligence project to conduct research into quantum technologies, under the leadership of research and development unit T-Labs. Deutsche Telekom will carry out research activities and tests for potential use cases of quantum technologies, particularly for network operators. A consortium of 15 partners and 33 associated partners are taking part the research projects, funded by the German Federal Ministry of the Economy.

T-Labs will provide specific use cases from the field of telecommunications, including the optimization of communication networks, Industry 4.0 applications or AI-clustering problems for customer segments. Quantum algorithms can provides solutions to the complexity and size of applications. Quantum computers could be used for Deutsche Telekom’s operational business.

A robot looks at a wall on which numerous formulas are written and the Bloch spehre is depicted.

Quantum algorithms for telecommunication providers

Quantum computers promise an exponential increase in processing speed for selected problem classes. For example, in combinatorial optimization problems or the training of AI models (AI: artificial intelligence). In communication science, Shor’s algorithm is usually considered the “killer application” of quantum computing. This is because quantum computers can use it to attack today’s security infrastructures.

In the PlanQK project, T-Labs provides some specific use cases from the field of telecommunications. These include the optimization of communication networks, Industry 4.0 applications or AI-clustering problems for customer segments. These applications have a high level of complexity and, if the problem exceeds a critical size, can only be calculated classically with great difficulty. Here, quantum algorithms promise the solution. With growing size, quality and processing speed, quantum computers could find their way into Telekom’s operational business.

The path to a standardized quantum app store

However, the goal is not only to evaluate and demonstrate the applicability of current quantum technology for use at Telekom. The PlanQK project also seeks to prevent the risk of any one company achieving a dominant market position and setting de facto industry standards. This project is targeted at ensuring the development and establishment of a vendor-independent platform and associated ecosystem for quantum-assisted artificial intelligence. Users could then, for example, compile solutions for their company or commission them via the cloud or a quantum app store.

About Deutsche Telekom: Deutsche Telekom at a glance
About T-Systems: T-Systems company profile


New ITU-T SG13 Recommendations related to IMT 2020 and Quantum Key Distribution

Quantum Telephony Network deployed at Moscow State University using Vipnet QSS

The Centre for Quantum Technologies at Moscow State University has deployed a secure quantum telephony network, reports The network will interconnect 20 quantum telephony users. The maximum distance between users is 50 km.  The network will be based on the Vipnet Quantum Security System (Vipnet QSS) quantum encrypting system.  The project was started in December 2020 and should be completed by the end of 2021.

During the implementation of the program, a secure segment of the quantum network will be created between several subscribers located on the territory of the Moscow State University campus on Lenin Hills.   The network points of presence will be installed at the Department of Physics, in the Main Building and in the Center for Quantum Technologies (about 20 subscriber points in total).  In 2021, the network will be integrated with the network of Infotecs and by the end of this year the quantum protected network will be fully put into trial operation.

“Before quantum encryption becomes a familiar part of secure business communications, it is necessary to thoroughly test all possible options for the operation of such systems. The project that we started complements and develops the experiments and developments in the field of quantum communications over fiber-optic networks that we and other companies working in this field previously carried out, “said Professor Sergei Kulik, scientific director of the Center for Quantum Technologies at Moscow State University.

The quantum network will be built on the ViPNet Quantum Security SystemViPNet QSS ), a quantum cryptographic system for generating and distributing keys (KKS VRK ), developed by InfoTeKS in collaboration with the Center for Quantum Technologies of Lomonosov Moscow State University. The system operates in a star topology and is designed to distribute encryption keys between trusted zones. In the course of the project, several tasks will be solved simultaneously: this quantum network will be multi-node, it will work in urban conditions, a secure channel will connect the networks of different organizations.

To ensure the safe transfer of information between protected zones, ViPNet QSS Point clients are installed in each zone, which are connected via a quantum channel through a hierarchical system of ViPNet QSS Switch optical switches to the ViPNet QSS Server. Thus, the trusted zones are combined for secure communication. The ViPNet QSS system delivers encryption keys to all devices that encrypt user information.

The confidentiality of negotiations through this system is based on strong symmetric encryption of network traffic between subscribers using the quantum key distribution protocol. In turn, the robustness of this protocol is based on the fundamental principle of quantum physics – the impossibility of measuring a photon without changing its state. This means that if an attacker tries to intercept photons, from which a quantum key should subsequently be formed, their initially prepared states will change. The protocol will detect these changes and will not use such photons to generate a secret quantum key.

One of the advantages of a “quantum” phone is the ability to encrypt voice traffic and text messages of users on keys unknown even to the network administrator.

“Our cooperation with colleagues from Moscow State University began 4 years ago. During this time, we have created several cryptographic systems operating in different topologies. It is pleasant to note that our joint developments also find practical application, – commented Dmitry Gusev, Deputy General Director of InfoTeKS. “I think that the trial operation of ViPNet QSS will allow us and colleagues from the Center for Quantum Technologies to better understand the real needs of customers interested in quantum technologies.”

One of advantages of “quantum” phone is an opportunity to cipher voice traffic and text messages of users on the keys unknown even to the network administrator.


On May 28, 2019, InfoTeKS and the NTI Competence Center – Center for Quantum Technologies of the Physics Department, Moscow State University demonstrated the work of a pre-production sample of the first “quantum” phone in Russia, ViPNet QSS Phone, which is part of the ViPNet Quantum Security System (ViPNet QSS).

A session of voice communication was carried out between the Center of Quat Technologies and the Infotecs office, protected on quantum keys and using an optical line provided by YL-com.

Quantum telephone is a joint development of the NTI Competence Center, created on the basis of the M.V. Lomonosov and Infotecs, a partner of the university in the quantum Consortium. Work on the product began in 2016 with a decision to support a local project within the MSU Development Program.

The confidentiality of negotiations on a “quantum” phone is based on strong symmetric encryption of network traffic between subscribers using the quantum key distribution protocol for the distribution of keys. In turn, the stability of this protocol is based on the fundamental principle of quantum physics that it is impossible to measure a photon without changing its state. This means that if an attacker tries to intercept photons, from which a quantum key should subsequently be formed, their initially prepared states will change. The protocol will detect these changes and will not use such photons to generate a secret quantum key.



KPN collaborating on quantum network for Nederlands metro areas

Netherlands telco KPN is partnering QuTech, SURF and OPNT on a project to develop a first-of-its-kind quantum network in the Randstad metropolitan area (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht). The Fast Mode reports that the project will focus on connecting different quantum processors, a significant distance apart, to create ‘the first fully functional quantum network using high speed fibre connections’. A quantum network is a radically new internet technology, with the potential for creating pioneering applications. Such a network connects quantum processors to each other via optical channels, enabling the exchange of quantum bits (qubits) – which have a number of features very different from the bits in commonplace networks. For example, quantum communication is potentially immune to eavesdropping practices. Quantum networks are expected to evolve over time towards a global quantum network allowing secure communication, position verification, clock synchronisation, computation using external quantum computers, and more.

  • QuTech is a leading R&D institute for advanced research in the field of quantum computing and quantum internet.
  • SURF is the collaborative organisation for ICT in Dutch education and research.
  • OPNT is a Dutch enterprise which has its roots in the science department of VU University Amsterdam.

The project will focus on connecting different quantum processors, a significant distance apart, over a Dutch network. The aim is to build the very first fully functional quantum network using high-speed fibre connections.

A quantum network is a radically new internet technology, with the potential for creating pioneering applications. Such a network connects quantum processors to each other via optical channels, and this enables the exchange of so-called quantum bits (qubits). Qubits have a number of features that make them very different from the bits we currently know and use in classical networks. For example, quantum communication is potentially immune to eavesdropping practices. Quantum communication networks are expected to evolve over time towards a global quantum network, and this would allow secure communication; position verification; clock synchronisation; computation using external quantum computers; and more. Among other things, the project is intended to lead to new techniques, insights and standards that will bring a quantum network closer.

Different parties in the collaboration each contribute their own areas of expertise. Ultimately, the mix of skills will help to create a programmable quantum network that connects quantum processors in different cities. Erwin van Zwet, Internet Division Engineering Lead at QuTech, underlined the project’s importance: “Working with these partners, we expect to have taken significant steps towards a quantum network by the end of the TKI project.”

Although the technology is still at an early stage, all four parties see the benefit of joining forces now. Wojciech Kozlowski, a postdoc at QuTech and responsible for one of the work packages in the TKI project: “Every day we are working on finding answers to the question of how network operators, such as KPN or SURF, can deploy a quantum network, and what sort of services they can offer their users. Although we are still in an early stage of development, we are already building the quantum internet ecosystem of the future by working with key partners. This ecosystem will prove crucial as our quantum network evolves into a fully-fledged quantum internet.”