Recently, researchers in The Netherlands from QuTech firm located in Delft presented a roadmap to build the first quantum internet. Since significant resources have been allocated by tech giants for the development of the quantum computers in the past few years, the appearance of a worldwide network based on quantum technology seems inevitable.
At this moment, QuTech’s explanatory guide to establish a quantum network comprises six phases. It has also planned for long-range quantum networks without which the communication cannot take place. The first phase seems to approach faster and describes qubits as part of simple and secure networks which enable quantum communications. The next phases include applications which are mentioned in the coming blog ‘Quantum Internet: Novel Features At Large Scale’. An example of quantum application is the accurate clock synchronization to integrate clocks of different telescopes on our planet and create the virtual “supertelescope”. Syncronization is critical for observing and monitoring natural physics phenomena integrating them across the network.
The last development phase in this roadmap includes networks with quantum computers which are fully quantum-connected.
The quantum internet will exhibit a remarkable quantum physics phenomena called entanglement. Therefore, communication will experience an extraordinary leap in the way technology works. By enabling the transmission of qubits – quantum bits – between two points on Earth. The shoking characteristics of the qubits is that they can be both ‘0’ and ‘1’ – the only values that bits have – in the “same time”. The bits can also present the intriguing quantum property: entanglement. Briefly, this means that in transmission, when one action is performed on a qubit it affects the state of the other qubit.
The quantum network is built in a few stages, with the lowest stage allowing delivery of qubits, one by one using two network nodes. This network is used to prepare for other applications and to measure the efficiency of using the initial applications. The lowest stage of the quantum network is perfect environment for encryption, sensitive data storage, cyber security applications which will run at this stage. In long run, the quantum network develops and implements the highest stage which allow the connection between large quantum computers for a in increased diversity of quantum applications.
The developers of quantum internet are aware that quantum applications, even at the lowest stage need only some application protocols as they are already embedded in the network, which would allow the creation of more developed, advanced stages of internet beyond what has been planned to this point. While developing and implementing the quantum internet, also a common language between specialists in engineering, quantum physics and computer science will take effect for the purpose of creating the quantum internet. The work ahead already shows significant and meaningful challenges for both application developers and quantum engineers having prepared for the go live of the first quantum network within the next few years.