Startup says quantum crypto is real

Wednesday, 5 November 2003, 11:30 AM EST

Startup MagiQ Technologies is shipping what appears to be the first security system based on quantum cryptography.

Quantum cryptography goes a step further than electronic cryptography through its employment of a stream of photons, the quantum properties of which determine the key. The fun part is that if an intruder observes or intercepts the transmission, those properties get changed - an unavoidable principle of quantum mechanics - meaning the sender and receiver can tell if anyone is eavesdropping. Perhaps more important, the key can't be copied or faked.

It's a potential breaththrough, though working with photons has never been easy, and, as the optical networking bubble has shown, it can be an expensive way to build technology.

MagiQ's Navajo system, a box made to fit in a standard telecom rack, was unveiled in February and began beta trials in March.

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