Today’s internet is a hacker’s dream: from vulnerable communication links and incompetently secured cloud data, weaknesses are everywhere. Quantum physicists are looking to construct quantum networks in substantial full-blown glory where information is created, stored, and moved around in ways hackers could never replicate or trace. If implemented, these networks could rise to fruition with an extremely high level of privacy, security, and computational power.

These networks might be a distant vision, but recent breakthroughs in transmitting, storing, and manipulating quantum information have convinced some physicists that a quantum internet is closer to reality than initially speculated.

A lightning-speed, completely secure internet is possible. Scientists recently teleported high-fidelity (over 90 percent accuracy) quantum information over 27 miles.

Dr. Panagiotis Spentzouris, a physicist from Caltech’s Fermilab particle physics and accelerator laboratory, was pleased with the results, “This is a key achievement on the way to building a technology that will redefine how we conduct global communication,” he said.

Qubits are unmeasured particles that remain suspended in a blend of possible states. Similar to spinning dice, qubits are full of possibilities. When dice land on any number, they are both guaranteed to add to seven no matter the distance. Much like dice, qubits that are introduced to each other are connected (quantum entanglement) in ways that become obvious once they are measured. This data is reflected from one location to the next.

The science of quantum entanglement and data teleportation is intricate and complex. Even experts aren’t sure how the technology would work in a quantum network. Each proof-of-concept positions scientists one step closer toward creating such a network. The most recent teleportation brings a city-sized quantum network closer to reality as it has never before been demonstrated with such accuracy over a long distance. Years of work remain ahead to create the vision, but the results are promising.

Quantum internet would provide large increases in speed, computational power, and security. Hacking attempts would be futile. Researchers believe quantum internet networks will be unique extensions to today’s classic rather than a comprehensive replacement.

For more information, check out the journal article published in PRX Quantum.

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