Remember the bold claim made in 2017 that the quantum internet would be here by 2030. From then to now, experts are still figuring out some of the basic aspects of it—from how to overcome the challenges to when will it be around us. This article is a quick walk through the things obstructing and forwarding the deployment of quantum networking.
Data transmission and data communication can be facilitated by building a network called the quantum network. It is similar to the classical style of communication and data exchange between different interconnected entities. However, the quantum network enables secure transmission and exchange of quantum communications over fiber optic cable between physically separated quantum processors or endpoints.
Difference between normal internet and quantum network
The quantum internet works with quantum bits instead of classical bits. A quantum bit is a superposition of two states (0 and 1). Quantum network treats nodes as quantum processors (one performing quantum computation), and information is transferred between the nodes using single photons as quantum bits. Also, quantum includes entanglement; it is similar to the quantum bits that can also be distributed through the network.
Therefore, the ability to distribute quantum bits and entanglement gives the quantum network fundamentally different capabilities than the normal, classical internet.
Apart from the differences, there is one similarity. The classical internet and quantum internet is composed of nodes for processing information and channels for distributing information.
Challenges in building a practical quantum network
There are several challenges associated with building a quantum network for effective communication and data transmission.
- Building the quantum hardware, which includes quantum processors, quantum memories, and entanglement sources, with the desired performance level, is extremely challenging. There has to be a proper solution to several scientific and technical challenges.
- The quantum entanglement is very sensitive and cannot sustain for a long time with the current quantum hardware. One of the major challenges is to distribute entanglement across the network at a much faster rate, just like it should be.
- Quantum effect exists only for short distances today, and extending it to long distances will require enormous progress in the performances of quantum nodes.
- Exerting control on the quantum effects like entanglement in quantum nodes is extremely challenging and requires low temperature and complicated experimental setups.
- Building a large-scale robust quantum network is not easy; it requires mass production of practical and simpler quantum nodes. Therefore, achieving the required performance level in a practical quantum node will act as a major challenge.
- Some nodes might be adequate for performing quantum processing, and others are better for multiplexed quantum memories or sensors. Distributing quantum bits and entanglement between different types of nodes will also act as an experimental challenge.
The future is quantum network, IF
The future is quantum network CERTAINLY, if there is the right collaboration between quantum scientists, quantum hardware, software providers, and network providers.
The future will be quantum network if the companies that are active in quantum technologies will play an important role in the deployment of quantum network by producing building blocks of the network.
The future will be quantum network if the countries that are working toward demonstrations such as the US, China, Europe come out to be successful in pushing to build the quantum internet.
In a nutshell
We’re still several developments away from having a complete quantum internet. The researchers also have different opinions related to quantum networking. Some think that quantum networking won’t be as beneficial as it should be while others are thinking – we will get there soon and see positive results.
Till now, we can confirm that small-scale networks that are particularly for short distances, will be deployed in the next few years. And the large scale networks for distances larger than just a few kilometers will see more years of research and development.