Russia and China to Have Secure Direct Quantum Communication Grid

  • The new system of ground-space fiber-optic communications will connect Moscow and Beijing with a line of absolutely secure quantum communication.
  • In comparison with conventional methods of transmitting information, quantum networks have one undeniable advantage: they are protected from third-party reading.
  • The secure method is achieved by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle.

During an online Roscongress Foundation session, Chinese professor Xiu Feihu, from the University of Science and Technology of China, announced plans to expand the communication network between Russia and China. The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, exhibitions, and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyze, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas.

The event was held online due to the coronavirus. Currently there are over 7.8 million infected and over 430,000 deaths around the world. Russia completely lifted restrictions previously put in place due to COVID-19.

The new system of ground-space fiber-optic communications will connect Moscow and Beijing with a line of absolutely secure quantum communication. Chinese scientists plan to create it in the next five years.

“In the near future, we plan to expand our quantum communication network to the entire territory of China, and in the medium term, in the next five years, we plan to go beyond it. In particular, we plan to build a secure ground-space communication system that will connect Beijing and Moscow,” said Xiu Feihu.

Motzu satellite.

In comparison with conventional methods of transmitting information, quantum networks have one undeniable advantage: they are protected from third-party reading. This way, the transmitted data will be securely protected. This is achieved by the Heisenberg uncertainty principle introduced in 1927 and was named after  German physicist Werner Heisenberg.

The uncertainty principle states that the more precisely the position of some particle is determined, the less precisely its momentum can be predicted from initial conditions, and vice versa.

How the system works is that a light gradually fades as it moves through the optical fiber. For this reason, the distance between nodes of quantum networks at the current time is at best about 200-300 kilometers when using ground-based data transmission systems. Physicists try to solve this problem in two ways. On the one hand, it can be circumvented by creating so-called quantum signal repeaters– devices that can read the incoming quantum signals, amplify them, and send them to the recipient without violating the integrity of the data.

Even though the system will be operational within five years, it would take 10 years for it to be perfected.

On the other hand, it is possible to increase the transmission distance of quantum information by exchanging data via communication satellites rather than ground-based fiber-optic cables. In particular, back in September 2016, Xu Feihu and his colleagues launched a similar device, the Mo-Tzu orbital probe, and successfully used it to conduct the first “Intercontinental” sessions of secure quantum communication.

The Mo-Tzu satellite provided quantum communication at a record distance of up to 1,203 kilometers, which is 12 times more than in previous experiments.  In January 2020, China lunched the first mobile quantum satellite, the first mobile station to communicate with a satellite via a channel protected by quantum cryptography methods.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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