The Rise of Quantum Internet

A dream of security experts is the creating of a quantum internet which allows secure communication based on the laws of quantum mechanics. The idea is that the act of measuring a quantum object inherently changes it. An attempt to eavesdrop on a quantum message will leave a telltale sign of another snooping that the receiver can detect. This sets ups things for secure messaging known as quantum cryptography. Such a system is already commercially available but it has limitations. The current system generation are point-to-point connections over a single length of fiber  These systems can send secure messages from node A to node B, but they cannot route this information on wards to nodes C, D, E, or F. This is because the act of rerouting the messages means reading the part of the message that states the reroute route, which in turn alters the message.  Los Alamos National Labs have been running a quantum internet capable of sending secure messages for the last two and a half years. The system they have in place involves rerouting a message by sending it through a central hub to various spokes connected to the hub. This allows for secure connection as long as the central hub is secure. Their are however problems associated with the hub and spoke type network, chiefly scalability.  Los Alamos believes it has solved the problem by attaching lasers to receiving nodes allowing for the passing of quantum messages from one spoke to another. This solution however will become obsolete the moment quantum routers become commercially viable. Below is a link to new article from MIT Technology Review.

Yours Truly,


One thought on “The Rise of Quantum Internet”

  1. System security is fundamentally a matter of resilient architectures and a uniform medium for conducting information throughout the network. The point mentioned in the post about scalability is right on the mark. Networks have an internal dynamic which often leads to their extension beyond the scope of practical application for state-of-the-art conduit technology. Wherever a photonic network links with an electronic network, vulnerabilities will exist. So the conversion of the bit-stream from one medium to another under secure conditions at the hub makes theoretical sense. My takeaway is that the refinement of quantum routers will allow for a concentration of security measures at the hub rather than across all edges in the network.

    Since the detection of intrusion “signatures” is one of the primary goals for network security specialists, the practice of quantum messaging obviously represents a real advance. I’m curious if advanced research in light-wave technology has identified potential vulnerabilities in laser transmission. Sometimes there are trade-offs between protecting against network intrusion and guarding against network disruption through physical compromise of the connectivity.

    In any event, it is interesting to see another application of “hub-and-radial spoke” design for advanced networks.


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