Battelle Memorial Institute researchers say they have developed the first production system for quantum distribution of cryptographic keys and are planning to create a 400-mile link enabling quantum-key distribution (QKD) between Columbus, Ohio, and Washington, D.C., by 2015.
Although practical QKD systems have been around for about 10 years, limitations in the range and scalability of the systems have limited their use in the United States to research, says Battelle's Don Hayford. Nevertheless, European banks and government agencies have been using QKD for several years. Still, the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology, which has been doing quantum cryptography research for years, does not yet think it is a viable option for production systems. "We use AES 256-bit encryption as part of our overall QKD solution," Hayford says. In addition, the system uses an existing gigabit metro-area fiber-optic ring, and Battelle added only about a mile of new fiber to connect to the ring.
Battelle is collaborating with ID Quantique to develop repeaters, known as trusted nodes, to broaden the range and to enable multiple links, which are expected to facilitate extension of the QKD network to Battelle's D.C. offices.
From Government Computer News
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