Recent progress on quantum computing is increasingly putting the security of current networks at stake. Many research networks require long-term security to ensure that information that is transferred in networks today is protected for many years to come, even if large-scale quantum computers become a reality.
We demonstrate a high-speed quantum-safe optical communication over the GÉANT network. The central building block of our demo system is a hybrid mode key exchange scheme combining a post-quantum key exchange (Niederreiter-based) and a quantum key distribution (BB84), together with a classical key exchange (Diffie-Hellman).
The Niederreiter scheme is a public-key encryption based on an error correcting code. The security of the Niederreiter scheme has remained stable, despite numerous attacks, including quantum attacks, over 30 years. Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is an unconditionally secure key agreement scheme based on the theory of quantum mechanics. QKD is one of the most mature applications of quantum physics to leap out of the laboratory. Combining a quantum-safe cryptographic protocol with existing cryptographic protocols gives greater confidence and a smooth migration to a quantum world.
We perform a hybrid mode quantum-safe key exchange over a 100G optical communication link between two terminals that are remotely located in two different European countries and connected over the GÉANT / NREN network. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration showing that quantum-safe optical communication is possible today.