In BriefChina is leading the way for quantum communications, and their recently-completed 2,000-km fiber optic cable is just the tip of the futuristic iceberg. Will other nations follow China's lead?
Recent developments have made the concept of quantum communications and a quantum internet a feasible reality. In fact, some even predict that we will have a quantum internet in as little as 10 years. Entangled photons sent through this method each encode two bits and, because of the nature of photons and this novel method, quantum communications are considered hack-free. This influence on security makes the journey towards a quantum internet one in which many are highly-invested. However, it seems China is the most invested, having pushed innovation in the field further than anyone else. After the initial launch of their satellite “Micius” (i.e., 墨子), Chinese scientists have successfully demonstrated the feasibility of quantum communication over a long distance.
Leading the pack in quantum tech, China already has quantum communication in place with their 2,000-km (1,243-mile) fiber optic network that sends quantum keys between hundreds of nodes from Beijing to Shanghai. But this method is susceptible to weak spots, requires frequent maintenance, and a large, physical connection. Quantum communications with Micius, however, are much more promising and efficient.
Where Communication is Heading
Traditional communication methods and the internet that we are all familiar with is, as time has told, subject to the dangers of hacking. But quantum internet is, in theory, completely resilient to infiltration. As others like Canada build quantum satellites and get on board with this quickly-developing technology, the day when super-secure communications is possible draws near.
The security of personal, corporate, and government communications is so crucial that the United States is making moves toward implementing an entirely new military branch, the Space Corps, to protect existing satellites. From financial concerns to military operations and strictly safety concerns, information is power, and our ability to protect our information is imperative to protecting our citizens. Hopefully, others will continue to follow China’s footsteps in paving the way for a quantum internet that will ensure efficient, safe communication.