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Quantum Xchange launches Phio TX to make QKD 'commercially viable'

11 Sep 2019

Out-of-band key delivery over optical networks makes existing encryption infrastructure quantum-safe and overcomes limitations.

Bethesda, Maryland-based Quantum Xchange, which claims to be the first company to implement point-to-multi-point key distribution, including Quantum Key Distribution, across any distance of optical networks, has launched its Phio Trusted Xchange (TX) system.

This is a key management system (patent pending) that enables organizations to select the level of communications protection needed based on their risk tolerance, resource availability, and other business drivers.

Working within an organization's existing encryption environment, the Phio TX out-of-band symmetric key delivery enables encrypted, fault-tolerant, and load-balanced point-to-multipoint key transmissions across any distance without the need for dedicated fiber.

Organizations can select advanced end-to-end protection i.e., traditional cryptography with out-of-band key delivery, quantum cryptography via Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), or a combination of both – all resistant to quantum attack.

John Prisco, CEO and President of Quantum Xchange, commented, "The scope of Phio TX is three-fold: it makes the communications environment more secure because existing crypto-keys are now quantum safe; it offers affordability to organizations who can start simple, then grow; and it removes previous QKD distance limitations and point-to-point only restrictions."

Quantum Xchange also warned, “While there's some debate as to when quantum computers will be available for commercial use, nefarious actors are harvesting data now, stockpiling it and waiting for the day when a quantum computer can break modern encryption standards in mere minutes.”

Market opportunity

Market analyst Gartner estimated in April, 2019, that by 2023, 20% of all organizations will budget for quantum projects. In its launch announcement, this week, Quantum Xchange states, “Organizations are looking for dynamic, crypto-agile solutions to keep pace with the rapidly approaching quantum era, while also seeking the highest levels of protection available today for their most critical assets, communication channels, and long shelf-life data.”

Dr. Whitfield Diffie, co-inventor of the Diffie-Hellman key exchange protocol and 2015 Turing Award winner for fundamental contributions to modern cryptography, said, "QKD will not be affected by the development of quantum computers and is noteworthy for protection against intruders in the middle, a phenomena difficult to detect with other approaches."

Phio TX is designed to be vendor agnostic and work independently of QKD. It introduces a self-organizing mesh network of secure nodes with hop-to-hop transmissions every 100 kilometers across any transport, i.e., WAN, optical fiber, wireless, to multiple destinations.

The company launched Phio, the first quantum network in the U.S., in June 2018. Today, Quantum Xchange offers a collection of products and services for cyber-aware organizations and government agencies looking to be quantum ready, crypto agile, and resistant to quantum attack. These products can be used individually, or as a managed service, and include:

  • Phio QK (Quantum Keys): Quantum Xchange's unbreakable key exchange using photons that cannot be cloned, interrupted, or altered in any way.
  • Phio TX (Trusted Xchange): The patent-pending, out-of-band key delivery technology that enables encrypted, fault-tolerant and load-balanced point-to-multipoint transmissions across any distance.
  • Phio Fiber Network: 1,000 km of existing optical fiber and 19 co-location centers along the Boston to Washington route (US) from strategic infrastructure partner Zayo Group.
  • The first quantum-ready fiber network in the U.S. runs from Washington, D.C., to New York City and onto Boston, including key connections to the financial markets on Wall Street with back office operations in New Jersey. Quantum Xchange plans to extend Phio nationwide over the next 12 months.
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