Second generation quantum cryptography in developement

Telstra’s External Research and Development Program to help support development of the technology by QuintessenceLab

A second generation quantum cryptography technology has moved a step closer to commercial reality, winning Telstra’s External Research and Development Program.

The Quantum Link Encryptor (QLE-1), is being developed by QuintessenceLabs and will be used over commercial optic-fibre networks to enable untappable, ultra-secure, high-speed communications.

As a winner under the External Research and Development Program, Telstra will give QuintessenceLabs acccess to the Telstra network to test the QLE-1 on a telecommunications network.

The telco will also make its technical experts available to work with QuintessenceLabs to refine QLE-1 and to support a trial of the technology on a segment of its network.

QuintessenceLabs has progressed substantially over the past two years with its technology, according to Telstra, moving from a proof-of-concept demonstration in 2006 to a working system currently undergoing field testing over dark fibre networks.

Quantum physics provides a method of achieving an “absolutely secure” information exchange that is “guaranteed to be future proof”, according to QuintessenceLabs.

“Rather than encoding information using a single photon at a time, our technology encodes a truly random secret key directly onto a continuous beam of laser light, emitting billions of photons per second,” the company’s site reads. “Unlike first generation, single-photon technology which requires complex and expensive photo-emitting and photon-detection components, QuintessenceLabs' technology is able to leverage commercial off-the-shelf telecommunications components.”

The External Research and Development Program is also supporting four other projects or companies — Neural Diagnostics, Microcone, Taggle Systems, and Rehabilitation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Neural Diagnostics’s technology, Electrovestibulography, has the potential to aid in the faster and objective diagnosis and management of schizophrenia, bi-polar disorder and major depression.

Dev-Audio’s Microcone project aims to develop a new type of microphone device to assist with the teleconferencing needs of small to medium enterprises and mobile professionals.

Taggle Systems’s technology — the taggle — is a small, low-cost, long-life tag that transmits a regular data packet providing the location of an asset. Using the technology the location of an asset and other data sent by the taggle can be tracked using the Internet.

The Rehabilitation for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease project, run by La Trobe University and Telemedcare, the Institute for Breathing and Sleep and Alfred Health aims to deliver Pulmonary Rehabilitation remotely through tele-rehabilitation.

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