Since it launched its ‘Micius’ satellite 4 years ago, China has made huge progress in secure quantum communication research. Thanks to Micius, China achieved a huge milestone when scientists separated by 4600 miles co-hosted the world’s first-ever quantum-encrypted video conference.
Recently, news broke that the satellite now enables secure, long-range communication with robust, ‘unbreakable’ cryptographic protection. The resultant practical Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) system can operate at distances over 1,000 kilometers, a big improvement over previous optical fiber-based systems. Earlier in 2020, the same team had unveiled the world’s first portable ground station for sending and receiving secure quantum communication using QKD. Two big Chinese banks are already using satellite-based QKD, paving the way for the wide-ranging commercial application of quantum communication technology. The team also plans to launch a quantum nano-satellite in the next two years for commercial use.
Since the first QKD protocol was proposed, the technology has progressively improved to make QKD one of the most quantum-safe technologies today. But despite its strengths, QKD has several implementation challenges which end up introducing vulnerabilities into the network or system it is meant to protect. For starters, launching satellites and developing mobile ground stations to perform QKD takes time and money. Second, even though the satellite itself is wireless, the underlying QKD-based system is not. These issues raise very real concerns about long-term viability, maintenance requirements and cost
The fact is that QKD-based systems are prohibitively expensive, require new dark fiber infrastructure and are simply not feasible for the real world challenges.
Quantropi’s QEEP™ technology offers a manufacturing-ready solution that brings all the security advantages of QKD without any of its drawbacks. To learn more about this scalable, cost-effective and energy-efficient alternative to QKD, contact us.