Scroll Top

The world’s first commercial quantum network is being built in London



Hackers want to steal data and eavesdrop on communications, quantum networks make that almost impossible.


Love the Exponential Future? Join our XPotential Community, future proof yourself with courses from XPotential University, read about exponential tech and trendsconnect, watch a keynote, or browse my blog.

Quantum networks, which are allegedly unhackable – until they’re not – because of the way they work, have been in development for years as governments and multi-nationals everywhere try to find new ways to communicate securely without the risk of their networks being hacked or listened into. And now we’re starting to see some of that hard work bear fruit as more quantum networks get deployed into the wild.


Quantum sensors help BT boost the power of its 5G network a hundred fold


Hot on the heels of teams in Canada and Austria who a while ago rolled out prototype quantum networks, BT and Toshiba are set to launch the world’s first commercial trial of a quantum network infrastructure in the UK. The landmark network will securely connect sites in London’s Docklands, the City and the M4 Corridor.

The network will support Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) — a technology the two have been collaborating on that relies on encoding each bit of a cryptographic key on a single photon – a particle of light.

Attempts to read the photons alter their encoding, allowing key secrecy to be tested and guaranteed. This makes QKD-based key-exchange secure against any computational or mathematical advance.


Major european banks get serious about building a Mastercard and Visa rival


BT will provide dedicated high bandwidth for the trial on Openreach’s Optical Spectrum Access Filter Connect, which gives direct access to the optical path on a dedicated optical fibre link, while letting users connect equipment to filter ports. BT looks after the fibre and manages the wavelengths and customers can develop services over spare channels. Toshiba meanwhile will provide QKD hardware and key management software.

The commercial QKD network will go live in early this year. It does not require specialist “dark fibre” and will use kit from Toshiba that establishes a quantum channel with wavelength in the telecom O-Band, leaving the C-band free for customer traffic. A Toshiba product page says it can “operate in the conventional mode with a fiber pair carrying uni-direction traffic, or with a single fiber carrying bi-direction quantum and classical signals.”


DeepMinds AI based WaveNet tech makes computers sound human


The launch comes a year after Toshiba launched a commercial QKD platform offering — a move that Taro Shimada, Chief Digital Officer of Toshiba Corporation, heralded as set to “ultimately enable the birth of a quantum internet.” Adoption has thus far been limited to trials over private networks.

The network aims to help early adopters get ahead of the looming threat to traditional network security from quantum computing. As the two noted, securing encrypted traffic is already a concern today “because data which requires long term security could be at risk of ‘store today, crack later’ attacks, in which the key exchange and encrypted traffic are stored now and broken when a sufficiently powerful quantum computer is available.”


UK passes payment milestone as cards overtake cash as king


Howard Watson, BT’s CTO, said in an October 5 statement: “BT and Toshiba have established a global lead in the development of quantum-secure networks… Secure, robust and trusted data transfer is increasingly crucial to our customers across the globe, so we’re proud of the role our Quantum R&D programme is playing in making the world’s networks safer as we enter the dawn of a new age of quantum computing.”

While BT and Toshiba have previously installed a point-to-point quantum-secure link between two commercial sites, deploying a full quantum-secured metro network environment with multiple endpoints requires new approaches to integration and management, the two noted in a release on October 5.


New X-Ray technique helps researchers discover backdoors in components faster


“London is an ideal environment to deploy and trial this technology thanks to the density of customers whose data is extremely sensitive and requires utmost security, such as financial and legal institutions” the two said. The initial focus will be “trials for enterprise customers who are carrying sensitive traffic (such as database backups) between sites, and to explore potential future offerings such as encrypted links and ‘quantum keys-as-a-service.’”

Related Posts

Leave a comment


1000's of articles about the exponential future, 1000's of pages of insights, 1000's of videos, and 100's of exponential technologies: Get The Email from 311, your no-nonsense briefing on all the biggest stories in exponential technology and science.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This