18 Sep 2023
by Claire Lloyd

Revolutionising encryption security over remote network connections

Guest blog from Katie Lloyd, Marketing Communications Lead at Quantum Dice. Part of techUK's #SuperchargeUKTech Week 2023.

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Earlier this year, the UK government set out its vision to be a leading quantum-enabled economy by 2033. The pace of progress towards the commercialisation of quantum technologies is accelerating with some real examples of commercially viable solutions emerging. A partnership between Quantum Dice and iQuila has resulted in a solution that demonstrates the commercial application of quantum technologies right now. iQuila's Virtual Extended Network (VEN) platform (a more robust and faster alternative to a VPN), can now be offered as a quantum-enhanced solution that encompasses Quantum Dice's self-certifying Quantum Random Number Generator (QRNG) to deliver unrivalled encryption security over remote network connections.

Hear from the team at iQuila – David Sweet (CEO), Richard Hill (CTO), and Ian Williams (Head of Partnerships and Talent) – and learn about their journey to being an early adopter of quantum technologies, the commercial benefits of the solution, and its real-world applications.

How would you describe iQuila's VEN (Virtual Extended Network) protocol and how it addresses the security and performance challenges posed by traditional VPNs?

Richard: Our VEN protocol is a Software-Defined Networking (SDN) solution that delivers a seamless and reliable Layer 2 networking experience for remote users or multi-site organisations. It’s faster and more robust than a traditional VPN, which operates at Layer 3.

David: It’s seamless because it’s like having a virtual ethernet cable that connects any mobile device, or multiple sites, to a head office as though they were in the same room.

We often use a rope analogy to describe the robustness. Our VEN protocol has 8 strands, whereas a VPN connection only has one. If one strand breaks – and we expect one to break, especially if a mobile connection is used – we’re able to rebuild that strand of lost connection dynamically.

When did you first come across quantum technologies?

Ian: We first came across quantum technologies in the context of a commercial solution that could be integrated with ours when we were first introduced to Quantum Dice via Cranfield University.

It was very much a ‘meeting of minds’ between the two companies. We showed Quantum Dice what our solution could do, and the Quantum Dice team showed us how they could help us to do it even better by utilising their self-certifying QRNG technology.

Why did you choose to be an early adopter of quantum technologies?

Richard: We saw the potential of quantum technology and how it could enhance our solution. We strive to have the best possible solution to offer our customers and it was evident that quantum is superior to the current technology.

Ian: Given the exponential increase in processing power and the trajectory of its development, we believe that quantum encryption is set to become mandatory.

Currently, some see this as being somewhat futuristic. But if you consider the capabilities of the processing power being introduced, this isn't a discussion of a scenario five years ahead. Instead, quantum encryption is on the verge of becoming a requirement.

How does Quantum Dice’s self-certifying DISCTM QRNG work with the iQuila VEN solution to create a quantum-enhanced network security solution?

Richard: Our VEN protocol takes Layer 2 traffic, and splits data into small packets. Quantum Dice’s QRNG then generates truly random strings of numbers to create encryption keys, securing that data.

 

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For a more detailed look at how the technology works, download the technical deck here.
 

How important are Quantum Dice’s source-device independent self-certification (DISCTM) protocol and fast generation rates in helping to deliver unrivalled encryption?

Richard: Both features translate into practical benefits. The DISCTM protocol guarantees that the random numbers used to generate encryption keys are truly random. The fast generation rates mean we can have much longer encryption keys – the standard key length is 128 bits or 256 bits, yet we’re currently using 4096 bits, and that’s down to the phenomenal data generation rates.

Ian: The best way to describe the benefits for customers is that they would be getting the best-in-class solution. We don’t think that there’s a better partnership out there. Together we’re providing the best connectivity in the world and then preventing people from gaining access to that using cutting-edge quantum-enabled technology.

iQuila recently announced its position as a Technology Alliance Partner with Cradlepoint. The partnership is centered around addressing connectivity challenges faced by mobile workers, including those in emergency services. Could you share some of the challenges mobile workers encounter?

Ian: Cradlepoint are specialists in cellular connectivity and this type of connectivity has limitations. Connectivity challenges can be problematic for timely and efficient communication.

Richard: If we take the example of emergency personnel working in the field, taking an additional 30 seconds or more to reconnect so they can communicate with essential applications during a crisis situation could have serious implications. 

In this situation, our solution can recreate the experience of a direct connection. The cellular router is essentially connecting to mobile workers via a virtual cable, meaning they are all on the same network, and wrapped around that is Quantum Dice’s QRNG for enhanced encryption.

David: In October, we’ll be exhibiting the iQuila and Quantum Dice joint solution at Cradlepoint’s Partner Summit. People can visit us there to learn more.

Are there any other exciting projects in the works that you can share?

Richard: Yes, we’re working on a project to synchronise drones with Cranfield University, funded by an Innovate UK grant, called “UTC Time Dissemination”, which also uses Quantum Dice’s QRNG technology. Drones need to know the exact time as they share important data like their location and speed. Since they aren't directly connected, there's often a delay, which is the problem we're solving.

We will be running a demonstration at Cranfield’s DARTeC Centre in March 2024. If anyone is interested in attending, contact me at [email protected].

To find out how Quantum Dice and iQuila’s solution can benefit your organisation, get in touch.

 

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Authors

Claire Lloyd

Claire Lloyd

Marketing Communications Lead, Quantum Dice