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NIST Leader Presents Quantum Network Testbed Connectivity Needs to Interagency Group

NIST Leader Presents Quantum Network Testbed Connectivity Needs to Interagency Group

In late April 2023, NIST’s Smart Connected Systems Division Chief, Abdella Battou, described the connectivity needed for the quantum network testbed to the Advanced Communications Technologies Working Group, which is part of the Federal government’s Interagency Committee on Standards Policy. The testbed is being pursued by the Washington Metropolitan Quantum Network Research Consortium and will enable experiments needed to develop quantum optical networks, offering significant advantages over today’s classic optical networks.

The testbed has multiple remote sites, including a NIST site, and connects quantum devices, using an optical layer, consisting of multiple fiber paths. The Metaverse management system will select and control these paths, based on the types of experiments conducted.

First and foremost, the testbed needs sufficient connectivity to enable two separate sources to entangle photons. These entangled photons are the basic means of communicating via quantum optical networks. This connectivity also must allow detectors to receive and measure the correlated behavior of these entangled photons. The testbed also requires connectivity that will enable:

  • Two separate experimenters to exchange either quantum or classical optical information
  • Two separate experimenters to exchange secure quantum and classical communications
  • The Metaverse management system and testbed devices and nodes to interact with each other
  • The optical layer to characterize noise and losses in fiber paths
  • Multiplexing – sending multiple streams of information via a fiber path at the same time
  • Sending datagrams – self-contained messages – via the testbed network
  • Switching fiber paths
  • Addressing latency limitations
  • Stabilizing the quantum layer for certain protocols
  • Supporting programmed experiments
Released May 1, 2023, Updated May 26, 2023