In a pioneering breakthrough for quantum communication, researchers from The University of York, in partnership with the Quantum Communications Hub and euNetworks Fiber UK, have achieved a first-ever successful quantum communication link between the UK and Ireland. This monumental experiment could potentially revolutionize the security and privacy of data transmission on a global scale.
The series of experiments were executed using the Rockabill subsea network, a new optical fiber system owned by bandwidth infrastructure company euNetworks. Spanning a distance of 224 kilometers from Portrane to Southport, Rockabill has now become the stage for this cutting-edge technological marvel. According to euNetworks, this was the largest quantum link that had ever been made, particularly across such difficult underwater terrain.
The ability of light particles to carry data in a sensitive condition via optical wires is the foundation of quantum communication research. The light particles disintegrate in the event that someone tries to intercept or modify this data, making listening in practically difficult.
The initiative’s pioneering scientist, Prof. Marco Lucamarini, emphasized the difficulties associated with quantum communication. “Distance is a notable limitation. The longer the trip, the greater the chance that photons will be lost or scattered, jeopardizing the integrity of the data being sent. The stakes increase further when an oceanic barrier is included in the equation.”
Nevertheless, in spite of these difficulties, the Rockabill subsea cable turned out to be the ideal medium thanks to its low-loss and low-latency characteristics. The smooth transfer of single and entangled photons across a record-breaking continuous distance was made possible by this cutting-edge wire.
Commercial-Grade Optical Fibers
The use of sophisticated detectors at Southport, which are intended to reduce ambient noise levels, is responsible for the studies’ extraordinary success. This establishes the foundation for Quantum Key Distribution (QKD), the next generation of data encryption technology that is essential for industries that need the highest encryption standards and provides increased levels of network security.
Professor Lucamarini added, “This isn’t just a step, but a giant leap in harnessing the vast potential of quantum communications. It not only safeguards personal information but also establishes the foundation for the quantum internet by incorporating quantum technology into the core of our worldwide communications network.”
“euNetworks is deeply honored to back a groundbreaking initiative that redefines the frontiers of quantum tech and heralds a new era for network security,” said Paula Cogan, CEO of euNetworks, echoing similar attitude. “The integration of quantum technology with commercial-grade optical fibers, particularly at this length, is an exciting development.”
This accomplishment would go beyond simple technical advancement. It would represent how quantum communication may go from research laboratories to practical applications by being easily incorporated into current telecommunications systems.
Even though they’ve reached this milestone, the road is far from over. It is planned to carry out further trials on the Rockabill cable with the goal of integrating quantum tech services into traditional communication lines. This would help strengthen the position of quantum communication as a pillar of the developing quantum Internet environment.