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Quantum security at 2.4Tbps, says giant bank with Ciena and Toshiba

Marco Pistoia JPMorgan Chase.jpg

The world’s largest bank has teamed up with Ciena and Toshiba to develop quantum technology that can deliver 800Gbps channels and a total speed of 2.4Tbps.

The bank, JPMorgan Chase, and the technology firms announced their breakthroughs today, backed up by a scientific paper

They say their quantum key distribution (QKD) can carry two 800Gbps channels over a distance of 70km, plus eight 100Gbps channels, all with encryption keys that change once a second. That is a total speed of 2.4Tbps.

The research is from the bank’s Future Lab for Applied Research and Engineering (Flare), with researchers from Ciena and Toshiba, including Toshiba’s Andrew Shields, who has been working on quantum networks with BT.

Marco Pistoia (pictured), who heads the bank’s Flare research group, said: “This work comes at an important time as we continue to prepare for the introduction of production-quality quantum computers, which will change the security landscape of technologies like blockchain and cryptocurrency in the foreseeable future.”

Pistoia is a mathematician who joined the bank just two years ago, after 24 years at IBM, where he was senior manager for quantum computing at its Thomas J Watson Research Center.

JPMorgan Chase, with assets of US$3.7 trillion, is the largest bank in the US and the fifth largest bank in the world by market capitalisation, worth $458 billion on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE).

The infrastructure has already been tested using Toshiba’s multiplexed QKD system, made at Toshiba’s UK base in Cambridge, and with Ciena’s Waveserver 5 platform. The tests were conducted in JPMorgan Chase’s fibre-optic production simulation lab.

The bank is to use the technology to “to deploy and secure Liink by JPMorgan”, which it calls “the world’s first bank-led, production-grade, peer-to-peer blockchain network”.

The bank says: “Liink by JPMorgan enables institutions to exchange payment-related information quickly and securely and addresses challenges that result in increased costs and delays.”

Ciena CTO Steve Alexander said: “With more sensitive information being distributed across fibre-optic networks every day, robust encryption is of vital importance. As the quantum computing era approaches, research and development advances will continue to ensure the confidentiality of critical data as it travels over the network.”

Toshiba suggested the first applications would be to defend against attempts to use quantum technology to decode confidential data.

Yasushi Kawakura, Toshiba America’s VP and general manager at its digital solutions division, said: “Based on the success of this project we now have a proven and tested method for defending against quantum attacks on blockchain. Toshiba is proud to contribute our QKD technology to this first-of-its-kind solution.”

The paper, Paving the Way towards 800 Gbps Quantum-Secured Optical Channel Deployment in Mission-Critical Environments, says that the quantum channel and the DWDM data channels were carried over the same fibre. The full PDF is here

The two 800Gbps channels operated on wavelengths of 1531.51nm and 1532.68nm. The eight 100Gbps channels operated on wavelengths up to 1536.61nm.