Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) is attracting much interest for the distribution of cryptographic keys using single photon signals. Currently QKD is often used to provide secure distribution of cryptographic keys for the encryption of data transmitted using conventional classical communication systems.
This paper reports major field trials carried out over several months on the Cambridge UK Quantum Network showing the operation of QKD systems alongside high-speed classical transmission systems encrypted QKD derived with AES keys. Quantum Key transmission at record secure key rates of 3.3Mbps, 3.2Mbps and 2.5Mbps has been achieved over 5km, 9.5km and 10.5km long links respectively with corresponding average Quantum bit error rates (QBER) of 2.9%, 2.4% and 3%.
Using a 33km link attached to the network with a loss of 7.5 dB, a secure key rate of 1.4 Mbps is achieved with an average QBER of 3.4%. Under loop back conditions this link provides a 66 km transmission path with a 16dB fibre loss, enabling a field trial using the QKD signals multiplexed with two wavelengths each transmitting 100Gb/s classical data to be carried out. This achieves an average secure key rate of 80.2 kbps and a mean QBER of 6.6%, in line with theoretical predictions. During the trial duration, the statistics of the QBER were found to be Gaussian distributed with a standard deviation of 0.5. The results of the field trial suggest that the system works stably and has considerable potential for applications in metropolitan networks. Further measurements will be reported at the conference.
Adrian Wonfor, Han Qin, Rupesh Kumar, Xinke Tang, James F. Dynes, Andrew J. Shields, Richard V. Penty, and Ian H. White, "Field trial of a QKD and high-speed classical data hybrid metropolitan network (Conference Presentation)," Proc. SPIE 10559, Broadband Access Communication Technologies XII, 1055907 (Presented at SPIE OPTO: January 29, 2018; Published: 20 March 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2290544.5754989781001.
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