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Orange, Adtran, showcase successful 400G transmission of QKD-secured data across 184km dark fibre network

Adtran 400G transmission QKD demo

Adtran’s technology is being used to help demonstrate how fibre networks could incorporate QKD technology to protect them from the threat of quantum computer attacks.(Image credit: Business Wire)

Adtran and Orange have collaborated on a lab trial of quantum key distribution (QKD) technology, which is designed to be a step towards safeguarding optical fibre networks from the threat of quantum computer attacks. 

Using an arrangement of advanced QKD and WDM technologies, the multi-vendor demonstration successfully showcased 400Gb/s transmission of a QKD-secured 100Gb/s data stream over a 184km standard single mode fibre through three QKD links and two trusted nodes. A hybrid approach combining classical cryptography and QKD was used and the trial was run over heterogeneous end-to-end infrastructure. The companies believe that it demonstrates the technology’s maturity for widespread commercial deployment. Both the Layer 1 encryption and hybrid key exchange used in the trial are enabled by Adva Network Security’s ConnectGuard solution.

The trial featured Adtran’s FSP 3000 with OpenFabric technology for encryption key distribution and optimised link performance. Leveraging a coherent 400Gb/s DP-16QAM channel, the platform transported a QKD-secured data stream across two trusted nodes and three links, spanning 184km of standard, single-mode dark fibre

A key achievement of the trial was overcoming data loss and distance constraints while transporting significant volumes of quantum-secure data alongside the quantum channel. It introduced a hybrid key exchange, blending classical asymmetric methods with QKD, creating a dual layer of security. 

Gilles Bourdon, VP of wireline networks and infrastructure at Orange says: “As we navigate the opportunities and challenges that quantum computing presents, it’s clear we’re at the beginning of a new era in network security. Our successful lab trial with Adtran highlights the magnitude of industry collaboration required to harness the full potential of quantum technology and secure our digital future. The synergy between Adtran’s FSP 3000 open optical transport technology, Adva Network Security’s ConnectGuard encryption, Toshiba’s latest QKD systems, and our expertise in network integration sets a formidable benchmark for quantum-resistant communications across Europe.”

Christoph Glingener, CTO of Adtran adds: “By utilising a QKD trusted-node configuration provided by our technical partner Toshiba Europe/Japan, we’re showcasing some of the practical applicability of this technology in today’s networks. At Adtran, we’ve always been at the forefront of quantum security advancements, consistently applying the latest developments in QKD and post-quantum cryptography. This trial further underscores our dedication to pushing boundaries in this field. We’ve also always been committed to championing interoperability, promoting and contributing to open standards, such as the ETSI interface for QKD key delivery. Our latest collaboration with Orange emphasises that an open, cooperative approach in the design and implementation of QKD solutions is indispensable to propel this vital technology at the speed we all require. Together, we’re setting the stage for a future where our data remains secure, irrespective of the challenges coming over the horizon.”


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