The Indian government announced earlier this week that the country’s first quantum communication network was up and running, according to media reports from India.
Ashwini Vaishnaw, the Union Minister for Communications, Electronics, and Information Technology, announced at the International Quantum Communications Conclave’s inauguration that India’s first quantum computing-based telecom network link was operational.
“The first quantum secure communication link is now operational. Quantum is the new frontier of technology for security purposes, for cryptographic purposes,” Vaishnaw said.
Quantum networks, which rely on the exacting laws of quantum mechanics, are considered much more secure than traditional data transmission methods. The first quantum-secure communication link is operational between Sanchar Bhawan and the National Informatics Centre (NIC) office at the Central Government Offices (CGO) Complex in Delhi.
The network is considered so secure that Vaishnaw challenged ethical hackers to break the encryption on the network.
“We are also launching a hackathon for breaking this first quantum network. We will be giving Rs 10 lakh per break,” the minister said.
The Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DoT) will be the nodal agency for developing quantum communication, Vaishnaw added. Quantum communication is essential to support secure data transfer in various sectors such as banking, defence, power distribution and healthcare.
How It Works
Quantum networks represent a major shift in secure communications. In traditional communication systems, information is transmitted using electromagnetic waves. However, in quantum networks, information is transmitted using quantum bits or qubits.
Qubits are subatomic particles, such as photons or electrons, that can exist in multiple states simultaneously. This phenomenon is known as superposition, and it forms the basis of quantum computing and quantum communication.
In a quantum network, qubits are transmitted between two parties. The qubits can be entangled, which means that they are linked in such a way that the state of one qubit depends on the state of the other. This entanglement enables secure communication since any attempt to intercept or measure the qubits would cause them to become disentangled, alerting the parties to the presence of an eavesdropper.