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 Cnews.ru. 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.

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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.

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References:
https://techblog.comsoc.org/2020/04/26/new-itu-t-sg13-recommendations-related-to-imt-2020-and-quantum-key-distribution/

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.”

References:

https://www.commsupdate.com/articles/2020/11/27/kpn-collaborating-on-quantum-network-development/

https://www.thefastmode.com/technology-solutions/18583-dutch-operator-kpn-join-forces-with-r-d-institutes-to-build-quantum-network

https://www.overons.kpn/en/news/2020/qutech-kpn-surf-and-opnt-join-forces-to-build-a-quantum-network