“The objective of this project is to provide the community with a platform on which the validity of quantum telecommunications can be tested and demonstrated… SwissQuantum will showcase Geneva and the Lake Geneva region as the unchallenged quantum communication capital of the world.”
Prof. Nicolas Gisin, University of Geneva, SwissQuantum Project Manager
The central task of the SwissQuantum project is the deployment of a quantum key distribution testbed in the Geneva metropolitan area. This testbed consists of three nodes located at CERN, the University of Geneva (UniGE), and the HEPIA of Geneva in a triangular configuration.
Twelve partners from academia and industry joined forces to make this vision a reality.
Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) — also known as quantum cryptography — is a promising technology that exploits the laws of quantum physics to enhance the security of communications over modern optical networks. This testbed will allow to demonstrate the efficacy of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) on modern enterprise network scenarios, specifically focusing on the following areas:
- Reliability of QKD networks: The SwissQuantum network was installed in March 2009 and will run until the end of the year, encrypting real data thereby demonstrating the reliability and stability of QKD networks over long time periods.
- Advanced Key Management Abilities: The SwissQuantum network will implement a key management layer to provide advanced functionalities such as key routing, key distribution links aggregation and key distribution chaining for point-to-point and multi-point topology.
- Versatility of QKD Networks: The SwissQuantum network will demonstrate the versatility of the QKD technology and its complementarity with conventional encryption technology by enhancing the security of the following cryptographic services:
- Ultra High-Speed Ethernet Encryption (Layer 2) – High-speed encryption will be performed on the 10G Ethernet link connecting CERN and the University of Geneva. This link is used to transfer data collected in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN for treatment at the UniGE. High availability as well as full throughput is essential.
- Optical Fiber Channel Encryption (Layer 2)
- IPsec Encryption (Layer 3)
Thanks to the pioneering work of Prof. Nicolas Gisin and his group, Geneva can now be considered as one of the QKD capitals of the world. The SwissQuantum project comes after several other world premieres in QKD technology including:
- Use of QKD to secure elections in Geneva - The world’s first application of QKD technology.