Quantum Cryptography Network Up and Running for 12’000 Hours
Friday 9 October 2009
The SwissQuantum testbed network was set up in Geneva by the University Of Geneva, the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland and the company id Quantique in order to demonstrate long-term operation of quantum cryptography technology in a meshed network setting. Contrary to quantum networks previously deployed, it is used to carry real traffic and is independently tested.
Quantum Cryptography is a technology that allows distribution of encryption keys across optical links and exploits the laws of quantum physics to guarantee their security. For Nicolas Gisin, of the University of Geneva, "this is the only technology that guarantees long-term secrecy of data."
The three quantum cryptography links forming the network distribute encryption keys to any of its three nodes. These keys are used for services such as 10 Gigabit Ethernet encryption to secure communications between CERN and the University of Geneva, as well as Fibre Channel and IPSEC encryption. Gerald Litzistorf of the University of Applied Sciences of Western Switzerland says: "The SwissQuantum network is the most advanced quantum network deployed to date. I was really impressed by the fact that this technology does not require any special skills beyond standard network engineering to be used."
The network was deployed in April 2009 and has been up and running for more than six months and has recently passed the 12,000 hours of cumulative operation time mark. "With this project, we clearly demonstrate that this technology is mature, reliable and deployment-ready," explains Gregoire Ribordy, CEO of id Quantique. The operation of this network was demonstrated during the whole week at the ITU Telecom World exhibition in Geneva and its performance presented during a conference on October 8th.