A blueprint has been proposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) that describes how the US will create a quantum internet. The blueprint was announced at the Quantum Internet Workshop held by the DOE’s Office of Science. This roadmap report comes from decades of hard work among various scientific communities and government agencies. Moving to a quantum internet will secure communications, advance research, and improve daily lives in a variety of ways.
The release demonstrates the US Government’s future plans for computer networks. The technology will take telecommunications well past 5G and plays into the White House strategy of securing communications and protecting the safety of Americans. Data is precious and in a world of dwindling privacy, development of a trustworthy domestic network plan is far better than outsourcing it to adversarial nations. Banning Chinese telecommunications technology in US networks boosts the market requirement for more modern and futuristic solutions that will compete.
The internet is used for almost everything these days. It’s basically taken for granted. In some areas it’s even considered a public utility. Our reliance on communication networks is increasing endlessly. Everything from calling our family to industrial factories and infrastructure. In this regard, investment in the internet is one of the most important things the nation can do.
Quantum computing has made most of the headlines but quantum networking is gaining more attention among the telecom companies and government advisory boards. Quantum computing and networking share a lot of advantageous overlap. The two fields will undoubtedly grow together as complementary industries. Major breakthroughs in computational methods have mathematicians and engineers excited about solutions to longstanding problems.
A quantum internet is closely within the reach of modern science but there are challenges to maturing the technology and merging it with existing networks. The blueprint sets clear goals for industry leaders that will serve as launch pads for implementation. Deploying quantum networking will happen in phases and will take decades. the technology is only just now blooming into any kind of usable state. Various stages of an entire new phase of the telecommunications industry will take place and likely all future networks will include quantum technology.
US based workshops have become important hubs as the investment of resources and talent into quantum networking increases. A collaboration of the DOE at Bookhaven National Laboratory, Stony Brook University and the Energy Science’s Network (ESnet) demonstrated an 11 mile quantum entanglement. Their method uses portable entanglement sources that can be mounted in standard networking data centers.
Since them, the SBU and Brookhaven Lab have begun work on an 80 mile quantum network. Argonne National laboratory has created a 52 mile quantum loop entanglement network. Their network will eventually be connected to Fermilab which will create a three-node, 80 mile testbed for further development. These testbed networks are milestone achievements for work on the technology. They’ll be used as demonstration sites for equipment and processes and they’ll be used to research new applications for a new world of possibilities.
Quantum networking will have a huge impact on large-scale sensor networks. That need has been a huge driving force in further development of secure and fast methods of transmission over long distances. Astronomy sciences, materials discovery and life sciences all show major interest in the future of the tech. In 2020 the technology is jumping from testing applications to fully functional demonstration networks.
The last major telecommunications bill was signed in 1996 by Bill Clinton. 24 years later the internet is in rough shape as superpowers with opposing philosophies struggle for control. Various nations have chosen to step away from Chinese network infrastructure equipment in favor of a western trust network that’s slowly taking shape.
Other network problems such as liability over speech online has become a terrible problem. Outdated statues like Section 230 are due for review. Social media empires like Facebook, Twitter and Youtube didn’t even exist when these protective measures were passed. Centralized powers have used these legal loopholes to cause great damage to the unity of our great nation. This has demonstrated the importance of securing our networks and the Department of Energy is working to make that future a reality.