Optical fibers provide stronger cybersecurity

A team of scientists from  Singapore introduces a way to advance quantum key distribution over optical fiber networks. They use complex networks of fiber optics transmitting data information beneath cities. Thus, scientists present a fiber optic technology that allows a pair of light particles to navigate the fiber networks, consequently, making cybersecurity stronger.

The scientists demonstrated their research over 10km of Singtel’s optical fiber network. The fiber optics for networking are able to maintain the deployment of technology, called quantum key distribution or QKD. The principle of QKD operation is based on the sent signals in light particles (photons) during their transmission over optical fiber networks, herewith, such a fiber technology of individual photon determination produces encryption keys for secure communication that can not be hacked.

Usually, during transmission, each photon faces various obstacle path of spliced fiber optic segments and junction boxes. Also, these photons undergo dispersion, where they effectively spread out. All these conditions influence the ability of operators to track the photons passing through optical fiber networks.

Therefore, fiber optic transmission has replaced electrical one because optical fibers have numerous benefits that allow making data security stronger:

  • the extremely high bandwidth capability that allows fiber cables to transmit more data information than copper cables do;
  • longer distance due to low power loss of optical fiber cables;
  • resistance to electromagnetic interference because optical cables are noise free and demonstrate quite a low rate of bit error;
  • a small size that enables to save more space in fiber transmission;
  • lightweight due to materials of which optical fibers are made;
  • possibility to provide more bandwidth with the help of additional equipment;
  • low security risk because there is no way to identify the information being transmitted by “listening in” to the electromagnetic energy “leaking” through the fiber optic cable that offers the absolute data security.

Before the experiment, it was not known whether deployed optical fiber would allow providing high accuracy dispersion cancellation because typically, these segments haven’t got identical zero dispersion wavelengths. Finally, the team believes that their research could find new fiber optic applications.

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