Asymmetric cryptography, used for authentication and key exchange in everyday internet communication protocols, is threatened due to the intensive research on quantum computers. It is likely that classical algorithms, like RSA or ECDH, could be broken within the next future years. To further ensure security, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) started a process in 2016 to find novel, quantum-resistant algorithms (PQC) for execution on classical computers, equivalent to the classical ones. On the other hand Quantum Key Distribution (QKD) provides the ability to generate and exchange shared secrets like e.g. symmetric keys over an additional communication channel by using quantum effects. The technology might add additional security, but further research is needed.
DemoQuanDT is an application-oriented project to demonstrate and investigate quantum communication networks by establishing an entire QKD route within the german telecommunication network. It includes all necessary components, systems and processes and enables, among other things, to analyze how to profitably combine PQC and QKD and how to integrate them into existing communication protocols. The overall objective is to develop reliable and usable protection against quantum computers, especially for critical infrastructures.