BT UK Trial End-to-End Quantum-Secured Fibre Comms for 5G

By Mark Jackson

Telecoms giant BT (EE) and Cambridge spin-outNu-Quantum today claim to have launched a ?world-firsttrial? of end-to-end quantum-secured communications for the newgeneration of ultrafast 5G mobile(mobile broadband)networks, which is being called AIRQKD (Air Quantum Key Distribution).

Quantum secure links are often said to be virtually ?un-hackable? becausethey rely on the use of single particles of light (photons) to transmit specialdata encryption ?keys?(QKD ? Quantum Key Distribution). Should this communication be intercepted, thesender will be able to tell that the link has been tampered with and the stolenphotons cannot then be used as part of the key, thus rendering the data streamincomprehensible to a hacker.

Last month BT and Toshiba succeeded in establishingthe UK?s first ?industrialdeployment? of a quantum-secure network using Openreach?s?standard?fibre optic infrastructure (here). The key rate of the QKD system ran atjust 1.1Mbps (each encryption key has a length of 256 bits), while theencrypted data link itself was running at 10Gbps (it can go to several hundredgigabits and at distances of up to 120km).

Meanwhile the new trial, which will run for 36-months, is being funded by aninvestment of ?7.7m fromthe Quantum Technologies Challenge, led by UK Research and Innovation. BTclaims it will be the first to combine QKD over fixed fibre and free-spacenetworks (point-to-point laser connections between cell sites), withquantum-enhanced security chips in mobile devices.

Apparently, both will be used to deliver an ultra-secure linkbetween connected 5G towers and mobile devices, as well as to connected cars,in conjunction with the Warwick Manufacturing Group at Warwick University.

Professor Andrew Lord, BT?s Head of OpticalNetwork Research, said:

?The UK has firmly established itself as a global leader inquantum-based network security. With the AIRQKD trial, we?re delighted to betaking this to the next level and combining multiple quantum technologies frominnovative UK start-ups to build the world?s most secure fixed-mobilecommunications link. Connected cars are only one of the possible range ofapplications that will benefit from such ultra-secure connectivity in thefuture.?

Dr Carmen Palacios Berraquero, co-founderand CEO of Nu Quantum, said:

?In this project, we are basically creating the architecture for awhole new quantum-telecommunication industry, with a supply chain running fromcomponent manufacture through to end user. At Nu Quantum we have the uniqueability to use the smallest packets of light, making the most of quantummechanics and the security advantage it can give us. This 3-year partnershipwith BT and others across the UK is an important step taking quantum out of thelab and into our networks.?

The AIRQKD projectinvolves the following partners: BT, Lexden Technologies, OLC, Duality, BristolUniversity, Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics, Strathclyde University,Warwick University Manufacturing Group, Bay Photonics, Heriot Watt University,Angoka, ArQit, Nu Quantum, National Physical Laboratory, CSA Catapult,Edinburgh University.

Infinera Partners with ESnet to Upgrade the World’s Most Advanced Scientific Data Network

Source: Infinera Corporation

SUNNYVALE, Calif., Oct. 27, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Infinera(NASDAQ: INFN) is proud to announce a contract award with the U.S. Departmentof Energy (DOE)?s Energy Sciences Network (ESnet) to build the opticalsubstrate for its next-generation science network, ESnet6, interconnecting theDOE?s national laboratory system and experimental facilities with research andcommercial networks around the globe. Based on a next-generation hardware andsoftware stack, ESnet6 will provide unparalleled support for global science andpave the way for future advancements in the areas of streaming data analytics,artificial intelligence/machine learning, workflow management, and theintegration of compute, storage, and networking capabilities.

TheESnet6 optical network is powered by the Infinera GX Series Compact ModularPlatform and FlexILS Open Optical Line System. ESnet?s open optical networkingapproach combined with Infinera?s GX and FlexILS with coherent 600G technologyenables deployment of today?s state-of-the art technology plus future-proofsthe network with the ability to seamlessly upgrade to 800G capability onceavailable.

Withscience data traffic over ESnet doubling every 20 months, Infinera capabilitiesensure ESnet can provide 400 Gigabit Ethernet-based services through this openand flexible architecture. Deployed nationwide, the Infinera GX Series andFlexILS Open Optical Line System solutions provide a flexible and scalablefoundation with C+L-band capability for further scale at the photonic layer.

?ESnet6represents a transformational change in the capacity, resiliency, andflexibility and brings tangible benefits to the DOE?s science mission,? saidKate Mace, ESnet6 Project Director. ?Open optical networking technology plays akey role in ESnet?s ability to meet the ongoing challenges of data trafficgrowth while supporting the high-speed and real-time collaboration capabilitiesthat are critical to our nation?s science programs.?

As the world?s leading science data network, ESnet connects all of the DOE?sgeographically distributed laboratories, experimental facilities, and computingcenters across a dedicated fiber optic backbone that stretches across the U.S.and beyond. These capabilities provide the foundation for scientists to move,share, analyze, and store data no matter where in the world the data may be.Partnering with ESnet, Infinera quickly and safely deployed new equipment,performed testing, and turned up services over 15,000 miles of fiber during aglobal pandemic.

?ESnetwas pleased to see Infinera?s team make such fast work of this largeinstallation task during a pandemic. This high-speed connectivity provides thefoundation to meet our mission of accelerating scientific discovery,? saidInder Monga, Executive Director of ESnet and Division Director of ScientificNetworking at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. ?ESnet enables tens ofthousands of scientists to access data portals, transfer vast research datastreams, and tap into remote scientific instruments and sources ? all in realtime.?

?Infinerais delighted to partner with ESnet to deploy a high-capacity open opticalnetwork connecting all the national laboratory locations in the U.S. withhigh-performance computing locations,? said Nick Walden, Senior Vice President,Sales at Infinera. ?This collaboration underscores the value of ourrelationship and ability to deliver advanced networking solutions quickly andefficiently to meet the needs of our customers even during a pandemic.?

Industrial IoT connections to reach 37bn globally by 2025

Anasia D’mello

The researchidentified smart manufacturing as a key growth sector of the Industrial IoTmarket over the next five years; accounting for 22 billion connections by 2025.

The newresearch, Industrial IoT: Future MarketOutlook, Technology Analysis & Key Players 2020-2025,predicted that 5G and LPWA (Low Power Wide Area) networks will play pivotalroles in creating attractive service offerings to the manufacturing industry,and enabling the realisation of the ‘smart factory’ concept, in which real-timedata transmission and high connection densities allow highly-autonomousoperations for manufacturers.

5G to maximise benefits of smart factories

Thereport identified private 5G services as crucial to maximising the value of asmart factory to service users, by leveraging the technology to enable superiorlevels of autonomy amongst operations. It found that private 5G networks willprove most valuable when used for the transmission of large amounts of data inenvironments with a high density of connections, and where significant levelsof data are generated. In turn, this will enable large-scale manufacturers toreduce operational spend through efficiency gains.

Software revenue to dominate Industrial IoT market value

Theresearch forecasts that over 80% of global Industrial IoT market value will beattributable to software spend by 2025; reaching $216 billion (?184.34billion). Software tools leveraging machine learning for enhanced data analysisand the identification of network vulnerabilities are now essential toconnected manufacturing operations.

Researchauthor Scarlett Woodford noted: ‘Manufacturers must exercise caution whenimplementing IoT technology; resisting the temptation to introduce connectivityto all aspects of operations. Instead, manufacturers must focus on thecollection of data on the most valuable areas to drive efficiency gains.’

JuniperResearch provides research and analytical services to the global hi-techcommunications sector; providing consultancy, analyst reports and industrycommentary.

For moreinsights on the Industrial IoT, download our free whitepaper: Industrial Revolution 4.0 ? TheFuture of IIoT.

High pressure improves optical fibres

Using computer simulations, researchers at Hokkaido University, ThePennsylvania State University and their industry collaborators havetheoretically shown that signal loss from silica glass fibres can be reduced bymore than 50%, which could dramatically extend the distance data can betransmitted without the need for amplification.

?Improvements in silica glass, the most important material for opticalcommunication, have stalled in recent years due to lack of understanding of thematerial on the atomic level,? says Associate Professor Madoka Ono of HokkaidoUniversity?s Research Institute of Electronic Science (RIES). ?Our findings cannow help guide future physical experiments and production processes, though itwill be technically challenging.?

Ono and her collaborators used multiple computational methods to predictwhat happens to the atomic structure of silica glass under high temperature andhigh pressure. They found large voids between silica atoms form when the glassis heated up and then cooled down, which is called quenching, under lowpressure. But when this process occurs under 4 gigapascals (GPa), most of thelarge voids disappear and the glass takes on a much more uniform latticestructure.

Specifically, the models show that the glass goes under a physicaltransformation, and smaller rings of atoms are eliminated or ?pruned? allowinglarger rings to join more closely together. This helps to reduce the number oflarge voids and the average size of voids, which cause light scattering, anddecrease signal loss by more than 50 percent.

The researchers suspect even greater improvements can be achieved usinga slower cooling rate at higher pressure. The process could also be exploredfor other types of inorganic glass with similar structures. However, actuallymaking glass fibres under such high pressures at an industrial scale is verydifficult.

?Now that we know the ideal pressure, we hope this research will helpspur the development of high-pressure manufacturing devices that can producethis ultra-transparent silica glass,? Ono says.

Madoka Ono is part of theLaboratory of Nanostructured Functional Materials, RIES at Hokkaido University.Her research focuses on the properties of non-organic and silica glass by bothlaboratory experiments and computational analyses.