Sep 28, 2021
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The first open access interuniversity quantum network was built

The open-access quantum network has united the MTUCI and MISiS universities in Moscow. The project was launched by the participants of the consortium of the NTI Competence Center “Quantum Communications” of NUST MISIS. Quantum channels provide an innovative level of security that is expected to become the norm over the next 5-10 years with the advent of quantum computers.

Quantum channels and networks

A quantum communication channel is needed by the sender and recipient of encrypted information to transfer the keys with which this information is encrypted. This transfer takes place by methods based on the laws of quantum physics, hence the name. The transfer takes place according to the key transfer protocols, which have a strict mathematical proof of secrecy.

Several quantum channels form a network. For example, a bank that has more than 10 offices in the city and a hundred large clients wanted to connect its offices and each client with each other using quantum communications. Connecting each user to each other is a resource-intensive task. Therefore, by analogy with classical networks, the first quantum networks are emerging today. With the help of the network, the key is not transmitted directly to the user, but through intermediate nodes. It’s much more profitable this way. There are open networks for training and commercial networks for businesses.

What is the meaning of an open quantum network

An open quantum network demonstrates the whole essence of the technology and allows you to see that it is impossible to intercept quantum keys. Here you can personally make sure that there are no “black boxes” in the system; rather, on the contrary, the equipment is in front of your eyes, patents are in the public domain, there is even a scientific and educational complex with laboratory work. This is enough to understand how quantum communication works and realize that this is the most perfect way to avoid information interception.

There are already specialists on the market who develop quantum cryptography systems, but there is an acute shortage of people who will design, build and maintain quantum networks. The open network allows students, undergraduates and company employees to become familiar with how quantum communications work.

The first open interuniversity network was built between MTUCI and NUST MISIS. Its launch is the most important first step, where the main thing is not to lose momentum. Quantum equipment vendors have enough production capacity to unite dozens of universities within one year. It would be a colossal leap forward and a confident first place for Russia in the global quantum industry.

Quantum communications in all leading educational institutions are educational programs, future new scientific discoveries, and preparation of infrastructure for quantum computers, not to mention the support of manufacturers and their motivation to refine and update devices.

Commercial quantum networks

Commercial networks are growing rapidly. The experience of building quantum networks in China suggests that on the horizon of several years we will be able to see not only long-distance lines, but also extensive urban networks, the services of which will be used by banks, corporations and large companies. Telecom operators are interested in the topic, because whoever is the first to build a quantum-protected network will have an undeniable competitive advantage over others. It will already have a new infrastructure and modern security guarantees for users, which will serve as a trigger for competitors.

What happens in the world

Quantum networks are being built in different countries. The largest quantum network was built in China. First, the Beijing-Shanghai highway was built, then the cities of Hefei and Jinam were connected, after which they developed their own quantum networks in each of these cities, to which end users – organizations were connected. Thus, a large-scale operational quantum network has turned out, where each individual user can exchange a quantum-protected key.

Hardware Comparison Options

The main parameters for comparing quantum equipment are the key generation rate and the maximum distance between trusted nodes (the distance limited by the laws of physics is up to 120 km). The Russian development of the QRate company has characteristics at the level of global leaders and even bypasses the Swiss company ID Quantique.

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