Quantum encryption secures high-speed data stream

    Date08 Nov 2002
    CategoryCryptography
    3742
    Posted ByAnthony Pell
    A quantum encryption system developed by two Northwestern University professors can encode entire high-speed data streams and could potentially encrypt data sent at Internet backbones speeds, its inventors said. The approach developed by Prem Kumar and Horace Yuen uses quantum codes . . . A quantum encryption system developed by two Northwestern University professors can encode entire high-speed data streams and could potentially encrypt data sent at Internet backbones speeds, its inventors said. The approach developed by Prem Kumar and Horace Yuen uses quantum codes to encrypt the signal transmitted down the Internet's optical fiber backbone.

    "No one else is doing quantum encryption at these high speeds," said Kumar. The pair's current prototype can encrypt data moving at 250 Mbits/second, and a second-generation model that can encrypt the 2.5-Gbit/s streams typical of Internet backbones will be developed within five years, Kumar said. A quantum encryption system disclosed this week by Magiq Technologies Inc. encodes only an encryption key, not an entire data stream, at rates of 1 kbit/s. Northwestern has applied for several patents for its technology.

    Magiq's encryption technology is slated to see its first real world installations in the first quarter of 2003. The approach transmits an uncrackably secure encryption key over insecure lines. In contrast, Kumar and Yuen's approach sidesteps the secure key and instead secures existing high-speed data streams using uncrackable quantum logic.

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