Activity report 2018-2019

Industry Specification Group (ISG) on Quantum Key Distribution for Users (QKD)

Chairman: Andrew Shields, Toshiba Research Europe Ltd.

Established to develop specifications describing quantum cryptography for Information and Communications Technologies networks.

Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) enables digital keys to be shared privately without relying on computational complexity. The security offered by QKD will not be vulnerable to future advances in algorithms, computational power or the emergence of a quantum computer.

With QKD, security keys are shared over optical fibre or free space links encoded on single photons or weak pulses of light. Demonstrator networks are now being constructed in several locations around the world and standards are needed urgently to enable adoption of these new security technologies.

ETSI’s Industry Specification Group (ISG) on QKD is leading activities to help fulfil this need, by developing standards for the quantum communications industry that will promote and shape the market.

During 2018 the group finalised API specifications to enable applications to request keys from QKD systems, and developed management interfaces to integrate QKD into Software Defined Networks.

We updated our specification on the properties of the components and internal interfaces of QKD systems and looked towards a certification process by developing work on implementation security and optical characterisation of QKD transmitter modules.

In 2018 many ISG members were involved in publishing an ETSI White Paper on Implementation Security of Quantum Cryptography. To aid discussions about QKD deployments the group issued a document on device and communication channel parameters and published a vocabulary for QKD.

Look out for in 2019 – ISG QKD work in progress:

  • Group Specification (GS) on characterisation of Optical Output of QKD transmitter modules
  • GS on implementation security: protection against Trojan horse attacks in one-way QKD systems
  • Revision to GS on QKD Application Interface (API)