The first open access quantum network launched in Russia

An ecosystem interuniversity quantum network with open access was launched in Russia. It united the campuses of the National Research Technological University “MISIS” (NUST MISIS) and the Moscow Technical University of Communications and Informatics (MTUCI), becoming the country’s first platform of its kind. The network will help in the implementation of technological solutions in the field of information security using quantum cryptography. The main advantage of the new quantum network is its openness: all interested players of the quantum communications market can join the network.

The network consists of five nodes located in the buildings of NUST MISIS and MTUCI. It has an open architecture and scales up as new participants appear. Universities, scientific organizations, industrial partners, government agencies and student startups get free access to the network. Based on the network, they can develop modern software applications in the field of information security using quantum keys.

Yuri Kurochkin, Head of the Quantum Communications Competence Center of the National Technological Initiative (NTI) at NUST MISIS:

“The main advantage of our quantum network is its openness. We want to create a new approach to development through a technologically advanced and accessible infrastructure. Any developer of software solutions in the field of data protection will be able to use this infrastructure to debug their program code or create a new app based on quantum keys, for example, for the Internet of Things and demonstrate it to potential customers. In my opinion, this new approach will radically change the quantum communications market, which today is limited by the number of business proposals based on quantum networks”.

The configuration of the quantum-protected communication channel corresponds to the one adopted in industrial networks. Keys generated at a speed of 30 Kbit/s are transmitted between trusted communication nodes using the quantum key distribution method over existing optical communication lines, which makes it possible to connect more than 10 high-speed encoders simultaneously.

As part of the demonstration of the capabilities of the network, remote control of a robotic arm is shown through an optical communication channel protected from attacks using quantum key distribution technology. In the future, this technology will allow the transfer, for example, classified documentation between geographically remote production sites and offices around the world.

Alevtina Chernikova, Rector of NUST MISIS:

“NUST MISIS is Russia’s quantum technology leader. The university’s tradition in quantum research started with the Nobel prize winner, Professor Alexei Abrikosov heading the university’s department of theoretical physics for over 15 years. In 2011, the ‘Superconducting metamaterials’ laboratory was launched, funded by the so-called ‘megagrant’. The laboratory headed by the world-renowned scientist, Professor Alexey Ustinov sucessfully launched Russia’s first two-qubit prototype of a quantum computer. In 2018, the NTI Center for Quantum Communications was opened. The center is engaged in scientific research and training specialists in the field of quantum communications”.

The developers plan to loop the architecture of the quantum network, which open up new opportunities for its development. The advantage of such a topology is that when the fiber is broken on one of the lines, the connectivity of the network will not be lost. In addition, it is possible to build a more architecturally complex urban network on the basis of rings, when one node works for many consumers — banking and financial organizations, telecom operators, business representatives in the field of fuel and energy complex, transport, modern technologies.

The project to create an ecosystem interuniversity quantum network is being implemented by the members of the consortium of the the NTI Quantum Communications Competence Center created on the basis of NUST MISIS: MTUCI, LLC “QRate”, LLC “Security Code”.