Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Quantum Network Link goes live in UK

The world’s first commercial-grade quantum test network link is now operational between the BT Labs in Suffolk and the Cambridge node of the UK’s new Quantum Network, which is being built by the Quantum Communications Hub, a collaboration between research and industry, supported by the UK’s National Quantum Technologies Programme. The new connection stretches from BT’s Adastral Park research campus near Ipswich in the East of England, to Cambridge. The wider UKQN network then extends onward over the National Dark Fibre Infrastructure Service to Bristol in the South-West.

The link uses over 125km of standard BT optical fibre between Cambridge and Adastral Park, with BT Exchanges acting as ‘trusted nodes’ along the route. The link will carry both quantum and non-quantum traffic; the QKD technique shares data encryption keys via an ultra-secure quantum channel over the same fibre that carries the encrypted data itself.

ADVA confirmed that its FSP 3000 is playing a key role in the new UKQNtel transport network secured by quantum key distribution (QKD). As part of an initiative led by QComm Hub, and with partners BT, ID Quantique and the universities of Cambridge and York, ADVA has constructed a QKD link capable of carrying classical and quantum channels on the same standard, installed fiber.

“Today’s launch is a significant step for network security. As well as being the UK’s longest QKD-protected link able to transmit both classical and quantum applications, this solution breaks new ground by showcasing the readiness of quantum cryptography for real-world transport,” said Professor Tim Whitley, MD, research and innovation, BT. “Our team has been at the forefront of developing quantum-secure telecoms infrastructure from day one. We’ve succeeded in taking the technology from PoCs in the lab to real-world demonstrations. Now we’re closing in on enabling customer trials and plans for full-scale deployments. Soon mission-critical networks will be protected even from cybercriminals intent on harvesting information today in order to decode and exploit it tomorrow.”



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