Sparkle trials quantum-safe VPN

TIM’s subsea cable business Sparkle says it has successfully completed the first test of an international VPN protected with quantum encryption.

Andrew Wooden

May 17, 2024

2 Min Read

Sparkle teamed up with Arqit Quantum for the project, which specialises in quantum-safe encryption, and Telsy, another TIM company which focusses on cybersecurity. The Proof of Concept (PoC) was carried out on the first Internet Protocol secure (IPsec) tunnel between Italy and Germany using Arqit’s Symmetric Key Agreement Platform, we’re told.

The purpose was to showcase the integration of Quantum Arqit's technology using SKA into Sparkle's network infrastructure, in order to create ‘enhanced encryption methods’ for data transmission across geographical borders.

The significance of this, says Sparkle, is that it ‘marks the creation of a software quantum-safe Virtual Private Network (VPN), standing as a pivotal moment in network security.’ Since it is software based, the SKA Platform is supposed to be easily scaled across any existing telecom network, thereby protecting sensitive data from potential decryption by future quantum algorithms.

“Our state-of-the-art global network provides critical services to carriers, institutions and enterprises who choose and trust Sparkle’s leading secure connectivity services to keep their data safe,” said Daniele Mancuso, Sparkle's Chief Marketing and Product Management Officer. “The successful completion of the quantum-safe VPN PoC, preliminary to a large-scale commercial launch, anticipates the potential threat of quantum decryption and confirms our market leading commitment to continuously elevating the security and resilience of Sparkle’s infrastructure.”

David Williams, Arqit Founder, Chairman and CEO added: “Sparkle’s establishment of the first quantum-safe VPN between Catania and Frankfurt signifies a key milestone in telecoms cybersecurity. By leveraging Arqit's SKA Platform, Sparkle is pioneering a new era of secure communication, ensuring the resilience of critical networks against the looming threat of quantum adversaries.” 

Late last year Nokia, alongside Greek research consortium HellasQCI, completed a proof of concept demonstrating ‘quantum-safe connectivity infrastructure.’ The project took place in an optical network ring topology across three locations in Greece, and Nokia said it ‘successfully demonstrated hybrid key generation using both classic and quantum physics to generate and distribute Quantum-Safe keys for encrypted optical services.’

SK Telecom and digital security firm Thales also recently tested quantum-resistant cryptography based on a 5G standalone network. The trial is focused on encrypting and decrypting identity data on a 5G network to protect user privacy from future quantum threats.

About the Author(s)

Andrew Wooden

Andrew joins on the back of an extensive career in tech journalism and content strategy.

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