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Numana: Quantum Communication Testbed 2.0: An Innovation Tool for All Players in the Ecosystem

By Team Numana posted 15 Jun 2023

Quantum Communication Testbed 2.0: an Innovation Tool for All Players in the Ecosystem

The most critical of innovation practices, learning by doing.

Matt Ridley, How Innovation Works, 2020

In June 2022, Numana announced an innovation initiative targeting the quantum communication ecosystem. As the main feature of this announcement was the deployment of a multi-hub, multi-node, multi-vendor and multi-usage quantum communication testbed infrastructure.

The purposes of Numana’s QN testbed are twofold: (1) to bring quantum networking technologies and advanced quantum devices within the reach of companies and users in order to advance from validation in a laboratory to prototypes in industrial environments and (2) to provide companies, research organisations, institutions and small enterprises with an industrialized environment to experiment quantum networking technologies and as well to accelerate adoption strategies for use and application cases.

This independent testbed platform will be managed by Numana, a non-profit organization based in Montreal. The testbed infrastructure will consist of dedicated fiber links available on existing telco network infrastructures, of technical rooms in various sites to host equipment, and of basic quantum building blocks (quantum key distribution systems (QKD) as baseline offering) that could be interconnected in various network topologies to meet testbed’s user requirements for field trials. Numana’s testbed intends to facilitate integrating of post quantum cryptography (PQC) protocols and QKD protocols and incorporating classical network capabilities (terrestrial and aerial optics) to support hybrid quantum networks. The deployment of entanglement distribution over testbed fiber links might also be envisioned in the near future.

Numana’s testbed offering is unique by its openness to different range of participants, its adaptable and evolutive design to be aligned with quantum market development and its emphasis on collaboration between experts, system integrators, equipment vendors and early adopters of quantum technologies. Numana’s testbed roadmap includes infrastructure deployment in three different locations to gradually interconnect local testbeds into a regional quantum network and includes a plan to an interconnection with satellite link for long haul communication as quantum technology matures. An advisory committee whose members come from industry and institutions has been set up to define strategic orientation for this quantum communication testbed initiative.

Numana’s initiative in quantum networking was initially funded by Quebec Provincial Government and partners.  A second round of public funding should be closed soon. The first testbed hub should be operational by the end of summer 2023 (in the city of Sherbrooke) with a three-node configuration and dedicated fiber links extending from 2 km to 40 km to accommodate various network topologies for users’ project trials. A second testbed hub is planned for Montreal by the end of 2023 and Quebec City should host the third one by beginning of 2024. All testbed locations will have a common technology infrastructure but each one might also accommodate specific flavour of quantum networking technologies and applications to support various use and application cases.

Numana’s quantum network testbed is especially characterized by its multifaceted openness:

  • Open to any user for short-term or long-term pilot projects
  • Open to any core component, any technology that could capitalize on testbed facilities and could enrich service offering to the market
  • Open to any partner that could bring value and contribution to the development of the testbed

Numana recognizes that no single partner or company has all the expertise needed to deploy a quantum network platform. Testbed is a critical area for practical, first-hand learning to quantum technologies applied to telecommunications networks. Numana is hoping to attract local and international stakeholders from quantum value chain to its testbed environment, and to bring participants open to share knowledge within a controlled framework.  As quantum technologies are rapidly advancing from scientific propositions to commercial realities, Numana envisions that its quantum communication testbed initiative to provide an insightful contribution to a vision of next-generation telecommunication networks for the benefits of society and organizations.

Numana invites all quantum networking ecosystem to participate to its open quantum network testbed initiative through trial project, technology demonstration, uses cases or just with open discussions on the future of quantum networking.
For more information, visit the Numana site on : https://numana.tech/en/projets/quantum-communications-network


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