01 May 2019
Capacity of first US quantum-secured optical network "Phio" boosted, making affordable secure communications for Wall Street traders.Quantum Xchange, the developer of the first quantum key distribution (QKD) optical network in the U.S., called Phio, has collaborated with tech giant Toshiba to double the capacity of the network. Phio was launched in June 2018.
Toshiba's prototype QKD system, which delivers digital keys for cryptographic applications on fiber optic computer networks, has been demonstrated on the initial phase of the Phio network, which connects the financial markets on Wall Street, New York, with back office operations in New Jersey.
The QKD system offers multiplexing compatibility, which doubles network capacity by allowing the control channel and the quantum channel to be transmitted over a single optical fiber. As a result, QKD transmissions have taken place across New York’s Hudson River on one fiber, where two were previously required.
This doubling of capacity provides twice the key material previously available as well as greatly reducing the number of fibers required for network customers to access the Phio network.
John Prisco, CEO and Founder of Quantum Xchange, commented, “Developments like these 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 organizations working to secure their most critical data.”
Developments in QKD technology are widely believed to be essential to future communications systems worldwide and keeping critical data safe in years to come. QKD technology promises unprecedented secrecy and assures that organizations can protect their critical data from harvesting attacks and the imminent threat of quantum computers.
This technology is complementary to public-key encryption (PKE), allowing organizations 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, commented, “Our stabilization technology, which allows the QKD system to distribute key material continuously in even the most challenging operation conditions, including temperature induced changes in fiber lengths, has 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 Phio 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, based in New York. Quantum Xchange said it plans to extend Phio nationwide by the end of 2019.
Quantum Xchange's Trusted Node approach
Quantum XChange details 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."