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Spain, world pioneer in quantum cryptography

TELEFÓNICA, HUAWEI AND THE POLYTECHNIC UNIVERSITY OF MADRID CARRIED OUT A PIONEERING EXPERIENCE WORLDWIDE IMPLEMENTATION OF QUANTUM CRYPTOGRAPHY IN COMMERCIAL OPTICAL NETWORKS FOR SECURE COMMUNICATIONS

Spain has experienced for the first time successfully networking of quantum cryptography in commercial optical networks through SDN (Software Defined Networking), technologies that facilitate the implementation of a flexible, dynamic way network services and scalable. The network uses a fiber infrastructure provided by Telefonica of Spain, which connects three of its communication in production plants located in the metropolitan area of Madrid. The experience is being developed throughout the month of June.

The network also integrates key (CV-QKD) quantum distribution equipment developed by Huawei research laboratories in Munich, with the collaboration of the center of computational simulation (CCS) of the Universidad Politécnica of Madrid, through the Research group information and computing quantum of the school technical top of engineers computer scientists, led by Dr. Vicente Martín, Member of the program of I + D in the community of Madrid in technology called QUITEMAD+CM.

SDN-based network management modules have been developed by innovation team in the GCTIO of telephone network technologies, and integration of quantum cryptography mechanisms have been developed by the CCS SDN and NFV (Network technologies Function Virtualization). The integration of all these elements allowed to demonstrate that QKD techniques can be applied in a real production environment, combining data and transmission of quantum keys over the same fiber.

It has also proven that it is possible to carry out the management of these services and their use across different applications. That whole experience has developed an infrastructure in production and using standard communication systems, at the same time highlights the maturity of this technology.

It is a pilot test of advanced communications services research insurance based on quantum technology that Telefónica can provide to their customers in the future. As the prestigious physicist, expert in computing quantum and member of the Board of Directors of Telefónica, Juan Ignacio Cirac affirms: “we can do the same sequence of random numbers to appear simultaneously in two separate places, without going by the middle. It is as if it were magic, but it is something that the physics quantum predicts. It is a way to exchange secure passwords that you have to take full advantage, since it can not be spied on.”

All secure communications are based on the use of cryptography, so that the information is encrypted using a key that allows only participants who know it to be able to decipher the messages exchanged between them. Current cryptography techniques are based on mathematical problems that are complex to resolve. Computation capability grows, the time resolution of these problems, and therefore the security of keys, decreases.

The size of the keys and the complexity of the encryption algorithms have had to increase the calculation capacity would grow. And these techniques may become completely obsolete with the emergence of computers quantum, able to apply the principles of quantum mechanics to solve currently insoluble problems, including breaking the keys generated by the current methods of cryptography, making useless the majority of communications security infrastructure.

The ability to use new technologies such as SDN, designed to increase the flexibility of the network, along with new technologies of QKD, is allowing us to make converge the classical and quantum networks in existing fiber optic infrastructure. “Now, for the first time, have the ability to deploy quantum communications in an incremental manner, without big initial investment costs and using the same infrastructure”, says Vicente Martín, director of the Center for computational simulation, responsible for the team of the UPM and member of QUITEMAD+CM, who has participated in this experience.

In the pilot we use fiber provided by Telefónica of Spain, infrastructure connecting three different centres in the metropolitan area of Madrid, along with CV-QKD equipment developed by Huawei’s research laboratories in Munich in which also helped the UPM, installed at these centers, SDN-based management modules developed by the team of innovation in network technologies of the GCTIO of Telefónica, and the mechanisms of integration of quantum cryptography technologies SDN and NFV developed by the UPM. The integration of all these elements allows us to demonstrate the use of QKD techniques in a real production environment, combining the transmission of data and key quantum on the same fiber, while we demonstrate how can be carried out the management of these services, and its use by different applications. The installation of a production infrastructure and using standard communication systems highlights the maturity of the technology.

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