Quantum tech to link Jinan governments
Jinan, Shandong province, will become the first city in the world, by the end of August, to use ultrasecure quantum communication in government, scientists said on Sunday.
The network, which cost 120 million yuan ($19.5 million), will connect Party and government offices in the Shandong provincial capital, which has a population of 7 million.
The system has passed more than 50 rounds of tests since May and is capable of encrypting more than 4,000 pieces of data every second and transmitting information to 200 terminals in the city.
The network has exchanged data more than 51,000 times since its launch in November 2013 — including secure telephone calls, faxes and files — with a success rate of more than 99 percent, Liu Hong, a professor at Shandong University who was involved in the testing, told Xinhua News Agency. The results are satisfactory, Liu said.
“This is a milestone for quantum communication in China and the world,” said Zhou Fei, assistant to the director of the Jinan Institute of Quantum Technology. The first users of this technology will be government agencies, the military, finance and electricity sectors and fields that require secure communication, he said.
Jinan hosts the world’s largest and most versatile metropolitan area network for researching and testing quantum communication on a citywide scale. It could serve as a platform for developing services and standards on a national or even international level, Zhou said.
Quantum communication is regarded as the most secure because its encryption is based on quantum entanglement, in which two or more subatomic particles affect each other simultaneously, regardless of the distance between them, said Wang Jianyu, a quantum researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
At the same time, the particles cannot be destroyed or duplicated. Any eavesdropper will disrupt the entanglement and alert the authorities, he said.
Last year, China launched the world’s first quantum satellite, Micius, which is tasked with testing quantum communication by transmitting information through photons — individual units of light — from space.
China also finished building a 2,000-kilometer land-based quantum link between Beijing and Shanghai last year. The link is the longest in the world and runs through Jinan and Hefei, Anhui province.
Xinhua contributed to this story.