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October 14, 2016updated 17 Oct 2016 10:19am

BT, Toshiba look to the future of secure comms with quantum cryptography

BT and Toshiba have demonstrated how the future of secure communication looks like.

By CBR Staff Writer

At BT’s research and development centre in Ipswich, the two companies have opened the UK’s first secure quantum communications showcase.

The showcase enables both the firms to demonstrate the technology, which can be used to protect digital data transported within banks and financial services organisations from hacking.

Quantum cryptography delivers secret keys over fibre optic cable. It uses the tiniest possible packets of light, allowing the user to easily identify any eavesdroppers, because any monitoring will disturb the photons sending these keys and lead to errors in encoding.

The technology has been in development for the past two years at Toshiba’s research lab in Cambridge.

Initially, the companies managed to use quantum cryptography on lit installed fibre carrying 10Gbps data signals. More recently, they discovered that quantum key distribution and 100Gbps data can be integrated on the same fibre.

BT head of research and Adastral Park MD Tim Whitley said the showcase stems out of the company’s research into how the technology can benefit businesses.

Whitley said: “Businesses and organisations today face a tide of ever increasing and highly sophisticated attacks from cyber criminals so ensuring the secure transfer of critical data is more important than ever.

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“We’re confident that quantum cryptography will play an increasingly important role in helping companies guarantee that their secure communications remain water-tight in the future.”

The two companies are also in the process of creating a quantum communications network between Cambridge, Bristol, London and Adastral Park.

A link connecting BT’s Labs at Adastral Park and the Cambridge Science Park is anticipated to be completed in early 2017.

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