National Quantum Communication Infrastructure in Finland
In a hyperconnected world, where telecommunications play a central role in the everyday life of all EU citizens, EU companies, and governments, cybersecurity has become a priority. Quantum key distribution (QKD) is an important tool in the toolbox of cybersecurity, especially for future-proofing secure transmission of classified and sensitive information. The main goal of the National Quantum Communication Infrastructure in Finland (NaQCI.fi) is to enable Finnish actors in the field of secure communication networks to test and familiarize themselves with QKD technologies. The expected outcome of the project is clear plans for a cost-effective deployment of the future national quantum-communication infrastructure. Training a large number of users is a central part of the effort.
The key activities towards these goals will be:
- The development of an open access QKD testbed where one can get familiarized with all relevant layers of QKD systems, including hardware and software;
- Deployment and testing of links of different complexity on a metropolitan network for public use;
- Deployment and testing of long links of different complexity on a secure governmental network and
- Demonstration of use cases based on the links deployed in points 2 and 3.
The NaQCI.fi consortium includes the partners VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd (VTT), Suomen Erillisverkot Oy (ERVE), Cinia Oy and CSC. Their expertise covers QKD hardware, cybersecurity, and metrology (VTT), nationwide backbone and public safety mobile network operations for the governmental sector (ERVE), network operations for private sector in domestic and international market (CINIA), and governmental computing and data storage services, and the Funet (Finnish University and Research Network) high-speed data communications network serving the Finnish research community (CSC). The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC-FI) will, as a third party, support and consult in matters related to national and European cybersecurity levels and standards.
CSC will lead the activities on public network and open QKD testbed. This includes testing of QKD devices and systems, deployment and demonstration of public links, producing a ready-to-use testbed, and measuring performance of QKD and real-world QKD networks in terms of reliability. CSC will also contribute to the identification of potential end-users of QKD and the identification of industrial stakeholders for the emergence of an autonomous EU quantum communication industry. Training users to deploy and use QKD systems in optical fiber networks, disseminating project achievements to the general and to technical audience, and organizing workshops and other hands-on events to show the results to stakeholders is of key importance for maximizing the impact of the project.