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Quantum networks in the UK

Adrian Wonfor, Catherine White, Andrew Lord, Reza Nejabati, Timothy P. Spiller, James F. Dynes, Andrew J. Shields, and Richard V. Penty “Quantum networks in the UK”, Proc. SPIE 11712, Metro and Data Center Optical Networks and Short-Reach Links IV, 1171207 (5 March 2021);

We describe recent progress in quantum secured optical networks in the UK. The Cambridge Quantum Network has been operating for several years with 3 nodes separated by between 5-10 km of installed fibre. All links are secured by QKD systems operating with secure key rates in excess of 1 Mb/s, the highest recorded long term key rates in a deployed network. The network operates in the presence of 100Gb/s classical traffic with no significant reduction of secure key generation rate. In addition, the Bristol Quantum Network has four nodes 1-3km apart connected in a mesh protected by two pairs of QKD systems. The network is designed to be very dynamic, switching both QKD and WDM classical traffic to enable rapid reconfiguration and is used as a testbed for QKD protected dynamic applications. The two metropolitan networks are being connected by a 410 km QKD link, with 4 spans, the longest of which operates over 129km of fibre with an attenuation of 28dB achieving secure key rates of 2.7kb/s, the longest and highest loss QKD field trial to date. A 120km extension of the UK quantum network from Cambridge to BT Labs, Adastral Park operates with fully commercially available components and is an important testbed comprising 3 intermediate nodes and operates with 5 x 100Gb/s classical channels. This helps determine how to proceed with a large-scale commercial deployment of QKD.