C-DOT unveils indigenous Quantum Key Distribution solution, launches Quantum Communication Lab
11 October 2021
Centre for Development of Telematics (C-DOT ), the premier telecom R&D centre of the Department of Telecommunications, on Monday unveiled an indigenously developed Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) solution, which can support a distance of more than 100 kilometers on standard optical fibre.
Development of indigenous QKD solution is essential to address security threats of data posed by rapid advancement in quantum computing.
Telecom secretary and chairman of Digital Communications Commission, K Rajaraman, inaugurated the futuristic Quantum Communication Lab. He also interacted with senior officials of C-DOT and reviewed the R&D projects being developed by C-DOT and its various abs, including labs of 4G/5G, GPON, Encryptors, Routers, WiFi, Cyber Security etc.
While appreciating the contribution of C-DOT in achieving self-reliance in the field of telecom and assuring full support of DoT in all endeavours of C-DOT, Rajaraman urged C-DOT engineers to work with full dedication towards realising the goal of “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in the field of telecom. He complimented C-DOT for its critical role in developing indigenous 4G technology and ongoing 5G development project. (4G technology from C-DOT is already under Proof of Concept (POC) trial in BSNL network at Chandigarh and Ambala). He stressed the need for C-DOT to keep track of emerging technologies, align with the technology life cycle and to start working on 6G and other futuristic technologies in order to catch up with the market. He also advised C-DOT to focus on commercialisation of technology and consider setting up incubators in C-DOT for faster technology commercialisation. C-DOT was also asked to focus on contributing in national as well as international standards as well as creating more IPRs.
With the development of QKD solution and the existing suite of a wide range of products in Optical Access, Core, Switching and Routing, Wireless, Post Quantum Cryptography Encryptors (PQCE) etc, C-DOT has become the first organisation in India to offer complete portfolio of indigenous Quantum Secure telecom products and solutions to comprehensively address the requirements of telecom service providers as well as strategic and defence sectors in India.
Quantum Technologies are one of the most researched areas at present and are attracting huge investments by governments all across the globe as well as by private players ranging from multinational giants to start-ups. Almost all countries have dedicated programmes for furthering research in this area, which has immense potential, impact of which can probably be compared with that of semiconductor technology in the last few decades or the impact that the laser had since its invention in the 1960s.
Quantum Technologies can broadly be divided into four verticals, viz, Quantum Computing, Quantum Communications, Quantum Sensors and Quantum Materials. To comprehensively address all these verticals and leapfrog India in this crucial and niche area, India has launched National Mission on Quantum Technologies and Applications (NM-QTA). This initiative, with a budget allocation of more than $1 billion spanning over eight years, will be led by Department of Science and Technology (DST) and will have active participation from various other ministries such as Department of Telecommunications, Department of Space, Department of Atomic Energy etc.
Quantum Technologies are based upon phenomena exhibited by microscopic particles (like photons, electrons, atoms etc) which are quite distinct from the way normal macroscopic objects behave. Behavior of these microscopic particles can’t be described by classical (or conventional) physics based on Newtonian Mechanics, and consequently Quantum Mechanics came into picture, around 100 years back, to formulate theory to describe such behavior. One of the most quoted such phenomena is the “Photoelectric effect” for which Einstein was awarded the Noble Prize in Physics in the Year 1921. Quantum Mechanics is probabilistic in contrast to Classical Mechanics which is deterministic. Besides this, Quantum Mechanics is counterintuitive as the phenomena of Superposition, Entanglement, Teleportation and Tunneling etc exhibited by microscopic particles appears weird and have no equivalence in everyday life. These aspects of Quantum Mechanics have, however, led to number of interesting applications such as exponential increase in computing power, inherently secure communication (teleportation of information), interaction free measurements, extremely precise and sensitive sensors etc.
C-DOT is actively looking to collaborate with other national and international institutes and organisations working in the area of Quantum Communications to synergise efforts in this nascent field.