Building quantum networks may sound like a science-fiction notion, yet it is a major goal for many governments across the world. For cryptography and optimization issues, quantum computers hold a lot of potentials. What quantum computers will and won’t be able to achieve, as well as the obstacles we still face, are explored by ZDNet.
In this article, you will learn everything you must know about the unhackable quantum internet.
What is Quantum Internet?
The quantum internet is a network that will allow quantum devices to exchange data in an environment that uses quantum physics’ strange principles. In principle, this would provide the quantum internet unrivalled powers that are currently difficult to achieve with web apps.
Data may be encoded in the quantum realm using qubits, which are produced in quantum devices such as a quantum computer or a quantum CPU. In simple words, the quantum internet will include transmitting qubits over a network of many physically isolated quantum devices. All of this would be possible because of the bizarre characteristics that are specific to quantum states.
That sounds a lot like the ordinary internet. However, transmitting qubits over a quantum channel rather than a conventional one basically means exploiting the behaviour of particles at their tiniest size – so-called “quantum states” – which have long fascinated and perplexed physicists.
Why Quantum Internet?
QKD technology is still in its infancy. At the moment, the “standard” method of generating QKD is to deliver qubits one-way to the receiver through optical fibre cables; however, this severely limits the protocol’s efficacy.
Because qubits may quickly get lost or dispersed in a fibre-optic cable, quantum signals are extremely error-prone and have a hard time travelling great distances. In reality, current tests are restricted to a few hundred kilometres in range.
Another option, which is the foundation of the quantum internet, is to use another quantum feature called entanglement to exchange messages devices.
When 2 qubits connect and entangle, they share qualities that are dependent on one another. Even though the qubits are physically removed, every change to one will lead to alterations to the other when they’re in an entangled state.
The state of the first qubit may thus be “read” by observing its entangled counterpart’s activity. In the setting of quantum communication, entanglement may effectively transfer some data from one qubit to its entangled opposite half, eliminating the need for a physical link to connect the two.
Quantum Information Exchange
In a nutshell, most consumers aren’t used to much. You shouldn’t anticipate being able to join quantum Zoom meetings any time soon, at least not in the next several decades. The fact that qubits, which employ quantum physics’ fundamental rules, behave substantially differently from classical bits is fundamental to quantum communication.
A classical bit can only have one of two states since it encodes data. A bit must be either 0 or 1, just like a light switch must be either on or off, and just like a cat must be either dead or living.
Qubits, on the other hand, are a different storey. Qubits, on the other hand, are superposed: they may be both 0 and 1 at the same time, in a quantum state that does not exist in the classical era. It’s as if you might be on both the left side of your sofa at the same time.
The paradox is that just measuring qubit results in it being assigned a state. A measured qubit, like a traditional bit, falls out of its dual state and is demoted to 0 or 1. Superposition is the name for the whole phenomena, which is at the heart of quantum mechanics. Unfortunately, qubits can’t convey the types of data we’re used to, such as emails and Facebook messages.
Security is among the most intriguing topics that researchers using qubits are pursuing.
When it comes to traditional communications, most data is protected by giving the sender and recipient a shared key and then encrypting the message with that key. The recipient can then decrypt the data at their end using their key.
The security of most traditional communication today is built on a key generation process that is difficult, but not impossible, for hackers to crack. That is why scientists are attempting to make this communication mechanism “quantum.” The notion lies at the heart of quantum key distribution, a new branch of cybersecurity.
Unhackable Quantum Internet
Quantum physics-based internets will soon enable fundamentally secure communication.
In recent years, scientists have discovered how to transport pairs of photons through fibre-optic cables in such a way that the information stored in them is completely protected. A Chinese team utilised a variant of the technique to build a 2,000-kilometre matching circuit connecting Beijing and Shanghai.
The technique is based on entanglement, a quantum property of atomic particles. It is impossible to interpret entangled photons without destroying their content. Entangled particles, on the other hand, are difficult to produce and even more difficult to transport across vast distances. Quantum repeaters that expand the network will be required to provide an uninterrupted connection across longer distances.
The objective for quantum researchers is to expand the networks up to a national level initially and then to a global one in the future. The great majority of experts agree that this will not happen in the next few decades. However, the quantum internet is a long-term endeavour with several technological hurdles to overcome. However, the unforeseen results that the technology will undoubtedly bring about along the road will make for an amazing scientific adventure, complete with a slew of bizarre quantum applications that can’t even be predicted right now.