Quantum Xchange tests Toshiba’s QKD system; doubles network capacity by multiplexing

Created May 2, 2019
Applications and Research

Quantum Xchange, provider of the first quantum key distribution optical network in the U.S., has collaborated with Toshiba to double the capacity of the Phio network.

Launched in June 2018, Phio from Quantum Xchange, is the first nationwide QKD network in the U.S. Toshiba’s prototype QKD system, which delivers digital keys for cryptographic applications on fibre optic computer networks, has been successfully demonstrated on the initial phase of the Phio network – connecting the financial markets on Wall Street with back office operations in New Jersey.

Toshiba’s QKD system offers multiplexing compatibility, which doubles network capacity by allowing the control channel and the quantum channel to be transmitted on one fibre. As a result, QKD transmissions have taken place across the Hudson River on one fibre, where two were previously required. This doubling of capacity provides twice the key material previously available as well as increasing availability of transmission while greatly reducing the number of fibres required for customers to access the Phio network.

Quantum XChange explains on its website how its approach can take secure communications further: “While QKD systems are currently the only certified quantum-safe key systems available today, the range limitations of standard QKD makes it impractical to use over long distances. The Trusted Node network system from Quantum Xchange alleviates the range issues of standard QKD to provide practical, certifiable key management over a wide-area network that is unbreakable against quantum computing now and in the future.”

John Prisco, CEO and Founder of Quantum Xchange, commented, “Developments like those made by Toshiba will catapult QKD into the mainstream. Increased network capacity will make the technology more user-friendly, and deployment and operational costs will be kept low, making the quantum technology a viable option for all organisations working to secure their most critical data.”

Developments in QKD technology are essential to future communications systems worldwide and keeping critical data safe in years to come. QKD technology promises unprecedented secrecy and assures that organisations can protect their critical data from harvesting attacks and the imminent threat of quantum computers. The technology is complementary to public-key encryption (PKE), allowing organisations to secure their current networks by adopting trusted, verifiable, symmetric keys which use quantum physics to detect anyone intruding on a transmission.

Shinya Murai, QKD Project Manager of Toshiba, said, “Our stabilisation technology, which allows the QKD system to distribute key material continuously in even the most challenging operation conditions, including temperature induced changes in fibre lengths, passed all tests it was put through. We look forward to more collaboration with Quantum Xchange on both technology and business partnerships for many years to come.”

Currently, the ultra-secure, quantum network is used to securely transmit high-value data, including trading algorithms and customer settlement accounts, for several large banks and asset management firms. Quantum Xchange plans to extend Phio nationwide by year’s end.

For more information, visit www.toshiba.eu


This article was written
by Matthew Peach

Matthew Peach is a freelance technology journalist specialising in photonics and communications. He has previously worked for several business-to-business publishers, editing a range of high-tech magazines and websites.