In late 2002, id Quantique demonstrated its version of QKD over standard optical fibers installed between Geneva and Lausanne, Switzerland a 70-km distance (see www.eetimes.com/story/OEG20021111S0036). In 2003, MagiQ announced commercial availability of its quantum key distribution and encryption system, the Navajo Security Gateway, which offered unbreakable encryption over existing fiber-optic lines (see www.eetimes.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=18310030).
Also in 2003, the World Internet Secure Key SA and the International Organization for the Security of Electronic Transactions pledged to create the infrastructure necessary for worldwide distribution of unbreakable quantum keys in cooperation with id Quantique (see www.eetimes.com/story/OEG20031020S0025).
And in July 2004, MagiQ introduced the QPN 5505 in Glasgow, Scotland, at the Seventh International Conference on Quantum Communication. The company also announced the successful transmission of a single photon over a secure channel 75 kilometers long, which the company claimed was a record at the time.
MagiQ designed its QPN architecture as an embedded system running on either the Windows or Linux operating systems. The embedded system generates and stores quantum keys, which are sent over a separate fiber channel. The embedded-key-generation system runs continuously, providing a real-time level of security. Keys that encrypt information on a standard optical fiber channel are refreshed every second.
For its part, id Quantique took the route of developing a turnkey system for connecting Fast Ethernet networks. Called the Vectis Link Encryptor, the complete network-transparent cryptographic solution lets network engineers quickly bridge remote Ethernet networks with a hack-proof connection.
"This new cryptographic appliance combines ease of integration into existing networks and uncompromised security. It will allow us to target the most demanding security applications. Potential customers include financial services, service providers, R&D companies, government agencies and others," said Ribordy.
Vectis provides point-to-point wire-speed link encryption that combines QKD and AES encryption with new keys refreshed up to 100 times per second. The Layer 2 network transparent encryption device securely bridges two Fast Ethernet (IEEE 802.3u) networks with all the quantum functions completely automated and monitored by a built-in surveillance unit that detects eavesdropping attempts.
The overhead for encryption and decryption results in sub-millisecond latency, according to Ribordy, making the system compatible with time-critical communications such as voice-over-Internet Protocol. A user-friendly touchpanel display interface reads out the tamper-detection system's results and offers pushbutton access to the Simple Network Management Protocol. The company already claims customers for its quantum encryption systems in the United States, Canada, Europe, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East. Id Quantique is a spin-off from the University of Geneva and participates in both European quantum communications efforts RamboQ and Secoqc.
Chappell Brown contributed to this report.