China has inaugurated the world’s first line of quantum communications between the cities of Beijing and Shanghai, with more than 2,000 kilometers of travel, according to state-run CCV.
The facility, known as the Jing-Hu trunk line, connects the main points of China’s safe quantum communications network (Beijing, Jinan, Hefei and Shanghai), which in turn connects to the planet’s first quantum satellite, Micius, launched by China in August 2016.
Thanks to Micius’ connection to a communications ground station in Beijing, a group of Chinese experts was able to hold a videoconference yesterday with the quantum physicist Anton Zeilinger, located in another base in Austria, according to information published by the journal Science.
Quantum communication is based on state changes in subatomic particles such as photons. The system encrypts the data to be transmitted thanks to quantum keys before being sent, so that the encryption is subsequently displayed as a bunch of disordered codes in the public network. To decrypt said data once received, they are decrypted using encryption keys.
With this system users on both sides of the line will be alerted when there is a crack in the network security, which makes this type of communications are suitable for the protection of government data or the financial sector.
In China, financial institutions such as Bank of Communications or Industrial and Commercial Bank, as well as large corporations such as Alibaba have already used this network.