(ZDNet) Dr. Duncan Earl, president and CTO of California-based QKD firm Qubitekk Inc., and an 18-year veteran scientist at Oak Ridge National Laboratories told the Inside Quantum Technology New York virtual conference on Wednesday that existing technology — not tomorrow’s quantum discoveries — could provide a long-term security solution for all 5G equipment, including but not limited to Huawei’s. He characterized this solution as “obvious.”
Underpinning all of the 5G and 4G and cellular and wireless technology is a very large fiber optic network. And that fiber optic network needs securing,” remarked Dr. Duncan Earl, said
If the world’s telcos were to install QKD equipment in 5G Wireless base stations then the geopolitical dilemma that continues to hang over the communications industry would solve the 5G rift with China. These facilities are linked to one another by fiber optic cable. This same cable, the engineers say, could be leveraged to provide impenetrable communications, from which neither China nor anyone else could glean information.
“There’s a big concern over foreign equipment being located or used on a 5G network,” stated Earl, using very diplomatic language. “In these base stations. . . you may be installing equipment that actually is tapping into those communications.”
Testing this principle in a real-world scenario today is the UK’s largest telco, BT. Last November, at the height of the pandemic, BT announced it would be leading a handful of startup quantum firms in building demonstrations of a key distribution system called AIRQKD, with backing from the UK Government’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund (ISCF).