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March 12, 2021

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5G network slicing with QKD and quantum-safe security

Paul Wright, Catherine White, Ryan C. Parker, Jean-Sébastien Pegon, Marco Menchetti, Joseph Pearse, Arash Bahrami, Anastasia Moroz, Adrian Wonfor, Richard V. Penty, Timothy P. Spiller, and Andrew Lord, “5G network slicing with QKD and quantum-safe security,” J. Opt. Commun. Netw. 13, 33-40 (2021)DOI:

We demonstrate how the 5G network slicing model can be enhanced to address data security requirements. In this work, we demonstrate two different slice configurations, with different encryption requirements, representing two diverse use-cases for 5G networking, namely, an enterprise application hosted at a metro network site and a content delivery network. We create a modified software-defined networking (SDN) orchestrator that calculates and provisions network slices according to the requirements, including encryption backed by quantum key distribution (QKD) and other methods. Slices are automatically provisioned by SDN orchestration of network resources, allowing selection of encrypted links as appropriate, including those that use encryption with standard Diffie–Hellman key exchange, QKD, or quantum-resistant algorithms, as well as no encryption at all. We show that the setup and teardown times of the network slices take approximately 1–2 min, which is at least an order of magnitude improvement over manually provisioning a link today.