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QKD

Quantum Key Distribution test successfully

A joint team of scientists from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi successfully demonstrated Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link between Prayagraj and Vindhyachal in Uttar Pradesh, a distance of more than 100 kilometres. The technological breakthrough was achieved over the commercial-grade optical fibre already available in the field.

About QKD

  • QKD, also called Quantum Cryptography, is a mechanism to develop secure communication.
  • QKD is primarily a mechanism to undertake secure communication which utilises a cryptographic protocol involving various components of quantum mechanics.
  • It provides a way of distributing and sharing secret keys that are necessary for cryptographic protocols.
  • Cryptography is the study of secure communications techniques that allow only the sender and intended recipient of a message to view its contents.
  • Cryptographic algorithms and protocols are necessary to keep a system secure, particularly when communicating through an untrusted network such as the Internet.
  • The conventional cryptosystems used for data-encryption rely on the complexity of mathematical algorithms, whereas the security offered by quantum communication is based on the laws of Physics.

Latest Development

The technology enables two communicating sides to come up with random secret keys shared by both of them and known exclusively to them, so only they can use it to encrypt and decrypt messages, thus achieving a very highly-secure communication. Latest demonstration of Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) link between Prayagraj and Vindhyachal in Uttar Pradesh, a distance of more than 100 kilometres shows that we have achieved one more milestone.

  • The performance parameters have been measured and have been found to be repetitively within the reported international standards at sifted key rates of up to 10 kHz.
  • This technology will enable security agencies to plan a suitable quantum communication network with indigenous technology backbone.
  • This technological breakthrough was achieved over a commercial-grade optical fibre already available in the field.

  • With this success, the country has demonstrated indigenous technology of secure key transfer for bootstrapping military-grade communication security key hierarchy.

Developments by DRDO in the past

In December 2020, the technology was tested for communication between two DRDO facilities in Hyderabad—the Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDL) and Research Centre Imarat (RCI)—over a distance of 12 km.

Why do we need QKD

QKD is essential to address the threat that rapid advancement in Quantum Computing poses to the security of the data being transported by various critical sectors through the current communication networks.

Benefits of QKD

The technology would be useful in enabling various start-ups and small and medium enterprises in the domain of quantum information.

It is expected to create a definition of standards and formulate crypto technology-related policies.

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