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Practical physical-layer encryption: The marriage of optical noise with traditional cryptography

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3 Author(s)
Kanter, G.S. ; NuCrypt, LLC, Evanston, IL, USA ; Reilly, D. ; Smith, N.

We describe an emerging method of encryption suitable for high-speed optical communication networks. This encryption protocol combines traditional electronic cryptographic algorithms with the physical effect of optical noise of quantum origin to create a highly secure method of secret communications. The resulting optical signal is compatible with today's high speed fiber optic infrastructure including optical amplification and add/drop multiplexing. Systems implementing this protocol can be constructed with common commercially available components. We describe experimental results obtained with a 2.5 Gb/s system. The encrypted signal is shown to travel error-free through >500 km of optical fiber. Simulations show that reaches and data rates consistent with modern long haul optical networks are attainable.

Published in:

Communications Magazine, IEEE  (Volume:47 ,  Issue: 11 )