Norbert Riepl

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Deutsche Telekom builds test environment for quantum technology

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  • 38 partners research applications for everyday life
  • Focus on data and network security
The Bloch sphere is used in quantum mechanics to graphically represent states of qubits.

The Bloch sphere is used in quantum mechanics to graphically represent states of qubits.

Deutsche Telekom participates in the research of quantum communication technologies. The goal of the 38 partners of the OPENQKD consortium (Open European Quantum Key Distribution) is to accelerate the development of quantum-safe data transmission. To this end, several test environments are being installed throughout Europe.

In Berlin, the researchers have access to an extensive fiber optic network with IT infrastructure. All types of QKD systems can be tested on it and limitations can be sounded out. At present, their range is limited to around 100 km, as no optical amplifiers can be used. The researchers are interested in how individual QKD systems can be interconnected to form a QKD network. The aim is to protect the management of communication networks and data transmission over them from possible attacks.

In addition to the basic research for the consortium, the scientists also investigate various telecommunication-specific applications. For example, the question is to be answered as to what extent a stable, secure and cost-saving operation of quantum optical communication links in the networks of the Deutsche Telekom is possible. The research also aims to encrypt connections up to the 5G mobile phone network. Finally, a target architecture for QKD key exchange in networks of telecommunication providers has to be developed and implemented. 


The consortium has 38 collaboration partners. It is coordinated by the AIT Austrian Institute of Technology. Testing is carried out at 16 locations and there are four large test environments (Vienna, Austria; Poznan, Poland; Madrid, Spain; Berlin, Germany) for real use cases. These include, for example, the encryption of confidential data between ministries, high performance computing or the protection of critical infrastructure.

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