Quantum communications with nanosatellites and 5G protocols


The European Quango Project officially begins. Coordinated by Prof. Giuseppe Vallone of the Department of Information Engineering of the University of Padua, the project is implemented in collaboration with the Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), Sorbonne University, the University of Malta, and the companies Sateliot, Stellar Project, and Argotec. Quango aims to design a secure communication network based on nanosatellites using quantum technologies and 5G communications. More specifically, the project aims to design a 12U-CubeSat low-earth-orbit satellite (600 km elevation), which will combine secure communications capabilities with QKD and 5G connections.

The main concern facing the digital world is cybersecurity. Each of us share thousands of bytes of data on the Internet every day, but for how long can the protocols used today protect this data? Staying aware of the threat of possible cyberattacks on sensitive and highly important data, the European Commission has launched several programs to protect communications within the continent. To do this, it is essential to improve security protocols and integrate them into current communication channels, such as 5G, which covers not only terrestrial communications but also satellite communications.

Quango will use laboratory demonstrations of the critical components and subsystems needed to insert into nanosatellites to study the feasibility of its implementation within a complete system. The long-term aim of the Quango project is to pioneer the integration of QKD security systems into 5G protocols and to create a constellation of 5G-QKD satellites covering all of European while offering maximum communication security.

The project will provide a new paradigm for sharing the satellite infrastructures needed to secure communication based on quantum technologies and 5G communication. It will help lay the foundation for Europe’s future quantum infrastructure, a quantum communication infrastructure that uses satellite and terrestrial solutions to connect European regions and cities.

Prof. Giuseppe Vallone, project coordinator and expert in quantum technology states, "At Quango we will develop and test the technology necessary to implement a secure communication network using nanosatellites. The combination of new technologies in space, such as quantum communications and 5G, requires a set of interdisciplinary skills, as such, European collaboration is the best way to achieve Quango's ambitious goals."