Elkouss Coronas, David and Martinez Mateo, Jesus and Ciurana Aguilar, Alex and Martín Ayuso, Vicente
Secure optical networks based on quantum key distribution and weakly trusted repeaters.
"Journal of Optical Communications and Networking", v. 5
Abstract—In this paper we explore how recent technologies
can improve the security of optical networks. In particular,
we study how to use quantum key distribution(QKD) in common optical network infrastructures and propose a method to overcome its distance limitations. QKD is the first technology offering information theoretic secretkey
distribution that relies only on the fundamental principles
of quantum physics. Point-to-point QKDdevices have reached a mature industrial state; however, these devices are severely limited in distance, since signals at the quantum
level (e.g., single photons) are highly affected by the
losses in the communication channel and intermediate devices.
To overcome this limitation, intermediate nodes (i.e.,
repeaters) are used. Both quantum-regime and trusted,
classical repeaters have been proposed in the QKD literature, but only the latter can be implemented in practice.
As a novelty, we propose here a new QKD network model
based on the use of not fully trusted intermediate nodes,
referred to as weakly trusted repeaters. This approach
forces the attacker to simultaneously break several paths
to get access to the exchanged key, thus improving significantly the security of the network. We formalize the model using network codes and provide real scenarios that allow users to exchange secure keys over metropolitan optical networks using only passive components. Moreover, the theoretical framework allows one to extend these scenarios not only to accommodate more complex trust constraints, but also to consider robustness and resiliency constraints on the network.