To ensure data confidentiality and secure connections to the communication networks of the future, marked in particular by the arrival of quantum computers capable of solving very complex calculations over a very short period, Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) appears to be the most effective way of securing data. Numerous research projects on the subject are thus being conducted across Europe.
Future of networks in Luxembourg
In Luxembourg, several research projects are tackling the issue. Among them is the European project LUX4QCI - Luxembourg Experimental Network for Quantum Communication Infrastructure. Launched in February 2023 and financed by the Digital Europe programme (DIGITAL), LUX4QCI is led by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust (SnT) of the University of Luxembourg. The project team - in which the Restena Foundation is a partner - intends to provide the first experimental quantum communication infrastructure network in Luxembourg.
To this end, Restena provides to the project team parts of its national backbone shared by the Luxembourg research and education community. The RESTENA network, which interconnects Luxembourg's research and education institutions both with each other and with their European counterparts, thus ensures the interconnection between the project partners, who will run quantum-secured connection.
By the end of the project, the Luxembourg organisations in the research and education community connected to this network, as well as the European association GÉANT, which brings together the European National Research and Education Networks (NRENs), could directly benefit from this evolution.
The importance of dark fibre
Like the LUX4QCI partners, the European GÉANT association is interested in applying secure communications enhanced by Quantum Key Distribution (QKD). In March 2023, the association revealed the results of 9 months of research into the applicability of QKD within its eponymous network that benefits the European research and education community.
The results showed that QKD could be deployed on approximately 35% of the fibre in the GÉANT network. However, the study also highlighted the importance of dark fibre in increasing the deployment potential of QKD. In Luxembourg, the dark fibre already connects the RESTENA network to the French and Belgian research and education networks. Luxembourg's last international connection, linking the German research and education network via Frankfurt, is being upgraded and will then be able to best meet the deployment ambitions of QKD.